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NEW YORK — The man who allegedly tried to stab Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor, was arrested on a federal assault charge Saturday, the Justice Department said.
After being released following his initial arrest by local authorities in Monroe County — where he accosted Zeldin while he was giving a speech there Thursday — David Jakubonis, 43, was charged with assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon.
Following Jakubonis’ quick release after the first arrest, which sparked outrage from Zeldin and his allies, he was being held Saturday pending a detention hearing set for next Wednesday, the feds said.
The federal charge against Jakubonis carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
He was previously charged with second-degree attempted assault.
Video published by WHEC-TV of the incident in the town of Fairpoint shows a man wearing sunglasses and a green Iraqi veteran hat holding what appeared to be a plastic, cat-shaped keychain with pointy ears as he approached Zeldin on stage.
He could be seen moving the brass knuckle-like device with a pair of sharp points toward Zeldin’s neck before audience members pulled the man, and Zeldin, to the ground.
The attacker allegedly told Zeldin “You’re done” during the tumult, according to the DOJ.
After his arrest, Jakubonis told investigators that he’d drunk whiskey the day of the incident, according to a federal criminal complaint. The suspect, an Army veteran, also claimed he hadn’t known who the speaker was and asked him if he was “disrespecting veterans,” the complaint said.