Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the Republican nominee for governor in New York, appeared on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday and emphasized the problems with New York’s extremist no-cash bail laws days after he was attacked at a campaign rally in Fairport and his accused assailant was released without bail.
The suspect, identified as 43-year-old David G. Jakubonis, jumped on stage and accosted the congressman while wielding a double-jointed sharp object that he raised to Zeldin’s neck. Hours earlier, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) issued a press release sharing “the time and location of several of Zeldin campaign’s upcoming stops,” as Breitbart News reported. The release encouraged her supporters to “RSVP to hear about Zeldin’s ‘Election Integrity Task Force.”
“‘Big Lie’ Lee and his entourage of extremists kick off the statewide ‘MAGA Republican’ Bus Tour, which will make stops across the state peddling dangerous lies, misinformation, and his far-right agenda,” the release added.
While Zeldin was speaking with Breitbart News Saturday host Matthew Boyle, he detailed what was going through his mind when the attacker accosted him at the rally, where, ironically, he spoke of the problems with no-cash bail.
“When I first saw this person close, I’m seeing a hat that shows that he is a veteran, which in life always makes me completely drop my guard,” he recounted. “And then I also, though, quickly see that on his hand he’s wearing what looks like brass knuckles with a couple of pointy daggers coming out of it, and he’s lifting up his hand towards my throat area. And I wanted to grab his wrist, which is something that I learned much younger in life, I was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and I remember through the training the self-defense of what you do when someone’s lunging at you with a knife.”
He noted that the man kept repeating: “you’re done, you’re done, you’re done.’
“And in that particular setting, I also was well aware of the fact that there were people all around me who would be able to respond quickly, so I really just needed to hold him off for a moment, and sure enough, seven, eight, nine, ten people all tackle him, subdue him…And then I got a bit separated from the scene. I know that there was some discussion of whether or not he might have other weapons on him… It was within a few minutes that the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office quickly responded. They arrested the attacker, and as unfortunately we have all experienced now in many other cases under New York’s laws, because of New York’s cashless bail law, within hours, he was immediately released and back on the street.”
After the ordeal, Zeldin returned to the stage and finished delivering his remarks.
“I keep hearing stories of people who get released on cashless bail, and then they go out and commit additional offenses. And judges in case after case, wanting to be able to keep somebody detained or setting cash bail because they are concerned about the person being a flight-risk, maybe they’re concerned about an individual being dangerous, maybe it’s something in their past with a criminal record and past events, maybe its the particular seriousness of the offense,” Zeldin detailed to Breitbart News Saturday. “That discretion doesn’t exist for all sorts of different laws that are on the books.”
New York’s radical no cash bail reform, which was signed into law by disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), who preceded Hochul, has led to countless cases where accused perpetrators are released on the streets amid serious allegations.
To name a few:
- Mohammed Islam, 32, is accused of starting an arson fire on January 15 in an unoccupied summer home in upstate New York, a day after he was arrested in connection to other arsons, according to State Sen. Mike Martucci (R-42). Martucci said he was released due to the soft bail laws, and while battling the fire on January 15, Forestburgh Assistant Fire Chief William “Billy” Steinberg collapsed due to a heart attack and died.
- In Upstate New York, Brian Hale, 30, of Libson, turned himself in on a second-degree manslaughter charge in April stemming from an altercation at a bar in February that authorities say resulted in the death of 39-year-old Andrew Johnston. Hale was then released on his recognizance.
- In New York City, on February 21, Frank Abrokwah, 37, allegedly smeared his feces on a woman’s face at a Bronx subway station after prosecutors say she ignored his attempts to talk with her. Abrokwah was released without bail and was arrested the following day for allegedly trying to steal from a hardware store. He reportedly encouraged an employee to report him to the police when confronted.
Zeldin pointed out another recent instance of this happening.
“There was an incident a couple of weeks ago where there was these two guys that got arrested with $1.2 million worth of crystal meth. They were Mexican cartel drug smugglers who got busted in Manhattan, and they were instantly released on cashless bail,” Zeldin said. “Now the argument that gets made in favor of cashless bail is the advocate will say that somebody who has a clean record, a low-level offense they are not a flight risk, that they are a danger to society, that they should not have to be detained only because they can’t afford the smallest amount of bail. That’s the argument that was made in favor of getting this law, and I would argue that if you get busted with $1.2 million worth of crystal meth, then you should face the consequences, and you shouldn’t have that same argument to your benefit that those advocates made because if you don’t have any money saved up for your bail, that’s on you.”
The congressman outlined the “stark” contrast between himself and Hochul and her apprehension to address laws that undoubtedly make New Yorkers less safe.
“The contrast is stark. When Kathy Hochul gets asked earlier this year about repealing cashless bail because the New York City mayor – who is a Democrat, Eric Adams – he had just taken office and he was calling for a major overhaul, and Kathy Hochul said she needs more data. [New York County District Attorney] Alvin Bragg was refusing to enforce the law starting on day one, he puts out a day one memo, he says all different laws across the board he’s not going to enforce, all sorts of others he’ll treat as lower offenses,” Zeldin said. “Kathy Hochul was asked about this by the media, she says that ‘We all should be cutting him some slack. He just got there. He’s doing his job.’ She does this time and time again when the media is pressing her on these particular issues. She’s giving the wrong answer every time.”
“She just a few weeks ago passed a new gun law. The week after the Supreme Court overturned New York’s concealed carry law for being unconstitutional, she comes back with a law that, in my opinion, is more unconstitutional,” he continued. “Now, it’s not just a Second Amendment violation. It’s a First Amendment violation, trampling all over First Amendment rights to trample all over Second Amendment rights. So the media asks her: “Do you have any data to support going after concealed carry permit holders?” And the response was she doesn’t need data in that case. So cashless bail she’s not going to do anything about because she claims there isn’t any data, even though there is, and then when she gets asked about this new anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment law, she says she doesn’t need data, she’s the governor, she has to do it.”
He went on to emphasize that the two far and away most pressing issues in New York State are public safety and the economy.
“The contrast is stark. These are the top two issues. Kathy Hochul isn’t dealing with it, she’s taking our state in the wrong direction, and I believe that these solutions are obvious, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican, a Democrat, an independent,” he told Boyle. “If you are New Yorker, you have to vote for common sense to secure our streets, to make life in New York more affordable, and I do believe that there are enough New Yorkers ready to do that November 8 in order for us to save this state.”