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Zeldin attacker appears in court: Attorney says he should be in rehab, not jail

On Friday, David Jakubonis, the man accused of assaulting Congressman Lee Zeldin at a gubernatorial campaign stop in Perinton had a detention hearing.

His attorney told the judge that at the time of the attack, his client was drunk to the point where it impaired his memory.

According to attorney John Demarco, Jakubonis suffers from mental health and substance abuse issues and should be in a treatment program.

“You’re not going to be able to get that level of treatment inside of a jail facility,” Demarco said. “So, in terms of trying to rehab people and have them be productive members of society that is going to take place on the outside rather the inside.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors contested that point – noting that Jakubonis has been in rehab before. He was on probation for a DUI charge in 2019. Once his probation ended, he resumed drinking, according to prosecutors.

An advocate for Jakubonis’ treatment was in attendance at the hearing. He said that the veterans treatment he underwent in 2010 saved his life, and it could save Jakubonis’ too.

“It is more rigorous than most other treatment facilities, you are heavily monitored and your held accountable for every single thing that you do,” explained Nick Stefanovic.

Right now, Jakubonis is charged with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon. His detention hearing will continue next month.