Man who accused of attacking former Rep. Lee Zeldin at a rally receives 3 years probation

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Blinken is expected to take questions about t

A man who climbed onto a campaign event platform in upstate New York last year and accosted Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin received three years probation Thursday.

David Jakubonis approached the then-U.S. representative while carrying a keychain with two sharp points at a campaign rally near Rochester, New York in July 2022. The two men struggled, and Jakubonis pulled Zeldin down before being subdued, according to prosecutors.

Jakubonis’ attorneys have said the U.S. Army veteran was drunk and was trying to get to the microphone.

Jakubonis, 44, pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a federal officer, setting up the sentencing hearing Thursday. A judge allowed his release from jail to an alcohol treatment program in October.

Jakubonis’ attorney said his client "is not the same person" 17 months after the incident and has benefitted from counseling to address post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder.

"David is a decorated veteran of the war on terror and has been found permanently disabled from his service," John DeMarco wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "I believe those circumstances together with the support of former Congressman Zeldin (and) the criminal justice system got this disposition perfectly right."

Jakubonis was deployed to Iraq in 2009 as a medical laboratory technician.