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Suspect arrested in attack on Republican candidate for Governor of New York Lee Zeldin

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David Jakubonis, the suspect in the attack on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), has been arrested and charged with federal assault, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York announced Saturday afternoon.

Defense attorney Robert D. Flood of the Federal Defender Offices in South Carolina said this morning that his client, Zofia Jakubonis, would make her initial court appearance later Saturday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marion W. Payson.

Zeldin, who is running for New York governor as a Republican, was attacked Friday evening while he was campaigning in Suffolk County. He was not seriously injured in the attack. His campaign said he was “thankful” to law enforcement for their “prompt action.”

“I am thankful that the quick response by law enforcement led to an arrest in last night’s attack against me,” Zeldin said in a statement. “This type of violent behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The U.S. attorney’s office said Jakubonis faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the federal charge.

Flood, the defense attorney, declined to comment on the charges against his client.

Jakubonis, 43, of Fairmont, New York, was arraigned in Perinton Town Court and released on his own recognizance after the Thursday attack.

Before Jakubonis’ release, Zeldin predicted that the suspect would be released. Zeldin has promised to fire district attorneys that do not enforce the law.

“This is unfortunately becoming all too common,” Zeldin said in a statement Friday evening. “Time and time again, criminals are released back into our communities to commit more crimes.”

“If you break the law by assaulting someone, you should go to jail,” he added. “It’s that simple.”

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