Jakubonis faces one federal count of assaulting a congressman with a dangerous weapon. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He was charged in state court with attempted assault. His next status conference will be on August 24, but the judge could call the parties back sooner for a ruling.
Slawinski says that Jakubonis lives in an apartment behind the VFW where Zeldin was talking, and he showed up not knowing who Zeldin was. Jakubonis had been drinking, and he believed Zeldin was insulting veterans, so he went on stage and tried to take Zeldin’s microphone, telling the congressman “you’re done” speaking, according to Slawinski.
Federal prosecutors called the key fob a “dagger,” which Slawinski called “a gross exaggeration.”
“He’s obviously a veteran who’s in crisis, and he needs help from the VA, and I think releasing him and allowing him to get that help after his relapse would be helpful to him and to society,” Slawinski said. “This incident did not reflect who he is and his usual conduct.”
Jakubonis spent five years in the US Army, served in Iraq, and received a Bronze Star. He suffers from battle anxiety and after the death of his wife, his children were placed in the care of his brother, Slawinski said.
Zeldin, who is also an army veteran, told a virtual press conference on Thursday that he hoped Jakubonis’ continued detention would allow him to connect with alcohol and drug treatment services. mental health that he might not seek independently.
“There are many examples of where someone is put back on the street very quickly, where they can’t get those other services. … This aspect of the criminal justice system needs to be valued more,” he said. “Because there are better outcomes for the community in being able to provide that assistance to the person committing the offence.”
State charges resulted in Jakubonis’ initial release the night of the incident, but federal charges led to his re-arrest on Saturday.
Zeldin’s campaign centers around the fact that state bail laws allow dangerous criminals to roam the streets while awaiting trial. Jakubonis’ initial release could have been prevented with different charges and was seen by some as a way to publicly prove that point, including criticism of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, a Republican who was at the event. and supported Zeldin.
Zeldin said Thursday he believed the situation had been handled appropriately and applauded local and federal officials.
“I understand that the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office – who have done a very good job in handling this case, particularly in the circumstances of responding to the call of the two officers from the Rochester who were shot – made that decision,” he said.
“You can wake up the next day and decide to add more fillers. In this particular case, the federal government was able to bring more serious charges that allowed them to not only detain Mr. Jakubonis, but to keep him in custody.