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Suspect in Lee Zeldin attack didn't know who lawmaker was, investigators say

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A man accused of attacking New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin during a recent campaign rally told investigators he'd been drinking that day and didn't know who the congressman was, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Saturday.

David Jakubonis, 43, was scheduled to appear in court Saturday in Rochester to face a count of assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon. Jakubonis was arraigned Friday on a separate state charge of attempted assault in the second degree and then released, a Monroe County sheriff's spokesperson said.

The federal criminal complaint alleges Jakubonis, an Iraq War veteran, told investigators he had been drinking whiskey on Thursday and went on stage as Zeldin addressed a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the town of Perinton to ask the speaker if he was disrespecting veterans.

Jakubonis "did not know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political person," according to the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Rochester. The complaint added that when Jakubonis watched video of Thursday evening's incident he told investigators he "must have checked out."

According to video of the attack, Jakubonis raised his arm toward Zeldin as he held a keychain with two sharp points. The congressman from Long Island then grabbed Jakubonis' wrist and the two tussled to the ground as others jumped in to help. Zeldin, who also served in the military, suffered a minor scrape.

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The Associated Press