Photo Credit: WHEC screenshot on Lee Zeldin’s Twitter
Assailant grabbing the arm of GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Lee Zeldin during a campaign stop, while brandishing a weapon, July 21, 2022.

The man who attacked US Representative and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-NY) as he was speaking at a campaign stop this past Thursday in upstate New York has already been freed.

The attacker, 43-year-old David Jakubonis of Fairport, New York, was indeed booked by police.

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However, he was arraigned and then simply released after having been charged with attempted assault in the second degree, according to a Monroe County sheriff’s spokesperson quoted by CBS News.

It’s not clear why the attack did not merit a first-degree assault charge. The weapon in Jakubonis’ hand was clearly lethal, and he certainly could have critically wounded and possibly even have killed Zeldin, had he succeded in stabbing him in the throat as he intended.

Jakubonis, an Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2009 as a lab technician, was armed with “a set of self-defense knuckles which had two sharp pointed ends which protruded beyond his fist,” according to the criminal complaint quoted by the New York Post.

Assailant to Republican Jewish Gubernatorial Candidate Zeldin: ‘You Are Done’

He aimed for Zeldin’s throat, but the Long Island lawmaker — an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel — grabbed his wrist and held him off until others managed to subdue him.

Zeldin’s running mate, lieutenant governor GOP nominee Alison Esposito, said she heard the attacker say “You’re done” to Zeldin “no less than three times” while walking towards the lawmaker.

President Biden condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” in a statement Friday: “As I’ve said before, violence has absolutely no place in our society or our politics. I am especially grateful for the courage of those who immediately intervened, and that he is unharmed and was able to continue his speech. I also want to thank the law enforcement officers who quickly took action and are investigating this attack that defies our fundamental democratic values.”

Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms possible” and in a tweet said “it has no place in New York.”

But why was Jakubonis released less than 24 hours after attacking a member of Congress and candidate for governor?

For a very simple reason: New York State lawmakers passed “bail law reform” a few years ago, enabling the release of huge numbers of criminals, without even having to post a bond, as soon as they are booked.

Will Jakubonis face jail time if he is convicted? Good question. Stay tuned.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.