Would-Be Assassin of Congressman Zeldin Already a Free Man in Soft-on-Crime New York

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

On Thursday, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who is running for governor of the Empire State, was attacked on stage during a campaign stop by a man with a sharp object. The assassination failed due to the quick actions of Zeldin and others present, who subdued the suspect.


“Thank you to everyone who reached out following tonight’s attack in Fairport,” Zeldin said in a statement. “Someone tried to stab me on stage during this evening’s rally, but fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him. I’m ok, and Alison Esposito, and all other attendees are safe.”

Zeldin also expressed gratitude for those who stepped up to subdue the attacker and for law enforcement for their quick response. “I’m as resolute as ever to do my part to make New York safe again,” Zeldin said. “This suspect will likely be right back out on the street immediately.”

He was right.

According to a statement released by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Thursday evening, the suspect, 43-year-old David Jakubonis, was charged with “Attempted Assault in the Second Degree (E-Felony)” and then “released on his own recognizance.”

This was a failed assassination attempt, and the suspect is already back on the streets.

This is New York. This is left-wing soft-on-crime policies at work. Zeldin has long been an advocate for repealing New York’s cashless bail system due to the spike in crime statewide that it created. “From New York City to Buffalo, New Yorkers have witnessed firsthand the deadly consequences of cashless bail, but Governor Kathy Hochul and those controlling the state legislature continue to put criminals over the safety of everyday citizens,” Zeldin said back in December. “In the midst of skyrocketing crime across our state, we must ensure that our brave men and women in law enforcement have the resources they need to keep our communities safe, and the ability to keep dangerous criminals behind bars is paramount. New York’s cashless bail law handcuffs justice, and its repeal is long overdue.”


But there’s another twist. Zeldin is a sitting member of Congress, and per 18 U.S. Code § 351, it is a federal crime to assault a member of Congress.

Section 351 of Title 18, United States Code, makes it a Federal offense to kill or kidnap a Member of Congress, a Member-of-Congress elect, certain specified executive branch officials, a major Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, a Justice of the Supreme Court or a person nominated to be a Justice. Attempts and conspiracies to commit such offenses or to assault any such individual are also made criminal by this section

While New York’s actions aren’t surprising, the Department of Justice should have immediately stepped in, and  Jakubonis should face federal charges.

Given Attorney General Merrick Garland’s inaction on protests outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes, does anyone really think that Jakubonis will face charges?


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