New York’s Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin is cross-crossing his state in a campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. However, a campaign stop turned violent this week when a man attacked Zeldin with a bladed weapon.
Shock over the incident turned to outrage when it was revealed that the alleged attacker was released without bail.
Accused man freed on own recognizance
According to the New York Post, 43-year-old David Jakubonis was charged with a count of second-degree attempted assault “quickly released on his own recognizance.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 22, 2022
Twitter users expressed anger and disbelief over Jakubonis’ release, with New York GOP congressional candidate Desi Cuellar tweeting, “This guy tried to stab a man running for Governor and is back on the streets?!? New York has truly become a sick place run by criminals!”
Spectator magazine editor Ben Domenech voiced his thoughts on Twitter as well, declaring, “Attempt to stab a GOP Congressman on stage, get released on your own recognizance. New York, everybody.”
Governor accused of “encouraging people to stalk Lee Zeldin”
Meanwhile, former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Bederow told the Post that Jakubonis should have been charged with a more serious crime.
“If he had connected with [Zeldin’s] neck, he could have killed him,” Bederow was quoted as saying. “Certainly, they could have charged first-degree on a swing and a miss.”
Fellow former Manhattan prosecutor Jeremy Saland agreed, telling the Post, “I think that this would constitute attempted assault in the first degree.”
“He’s not trying to inflict a black eye or cause a swollen lip,” Saland pointed out, adding, “He’s trying to pierce a region of the body that could be fatal or inflict some sort of long-term impairment or disfigurement.”
The Post noted that while Hochul was quick to condemn the attack, some Republicans accused her of endangering Zeldin by publicizing his campaign events and encouraging his critics to show up.
“The Hochul campaign is encouraging people to stalk Lee Zeldin. This is what the liberals have done to our Supreme Court justices,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman was quoted as saying.