County DA Recuses Herself From Zeldin Attack Case After Scrutiny Over Ties To His Campaign

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) attends a press conference on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Monroe County district attorney Sandra Doorley will reportedly recuse herself from the case involving a man who allegedly tried to stab Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), New York’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, during a campaign event last week.

Calli Marinetti, a spokesperson for the DA, confirmed Doorley’s recusal to Spectrum News 1 on Monday. Marinetti reportedly said the DA considers Zeldin “a friend.”

Doorley, who was in attendance at the event when the attack took place, has come under scrutiny for her involvement in the case because she serves as a co-chair on Zeldin’s campaign.

But Doorley and Zeldin disputed reports on the DA’s involvement in the GOP gubernatorial nominee’s campaign. Marinetti told Spectrum News 1 that Doorley has not been involved with the campaign since the spring, after having contact with the District Attorney Association of the State of New York that prompted her to change her mind. The DAASNY reportedly determined that Doorley’s role in the campaign potentially created a conflict of interest.

Zeldin also said that Doorley informed his campaign months ago that although she would “love to be” a campaign co-chair, she decided against it after conferring with the DAASNY, according to the Times Union. Doorley, however, was listed as a co-chair in an April news release from the campaign and was still listed in that role on the campaign’s website as of Monday morning, the Times Union reported.

Doorley is also a semi-regular donor to the Conservative Party of Monroe County, according to the Times Union. State Board of Elections records reportedly show that Doorley contributed $1,000 to the political party in February. Additionally, Doorley has reportedly donated more than $3,000 to political causes, including donations to support a town supervisor and a Supreme Court justice, since 2015.

Doorley’s office charged David Jakubonis, a 43-year-old man from Fairport, New York, with second-degree attempted assault after the alleged attack last week and he was released without bail. The attempted assault charge is rarely pursued in New York, and within the county, according to state data reviewed by the Times Union.

On Saturday, Jakubonis was arrested and charged under federal law with assaulting a member of Congress. Jakubonis reportedly told investigators that he was drinking on the day of the event and didn’t know who Zeldin was, according to the Associated Press.

Video of the attack shows a man approaching Zeldin as he delivered a stump speech at the campaign event in Perinton, New York last week. The man appeared to hold a sharp object as he walked up to Zelda on the stage, grabbed his right arm and attempt to pull him off the stage, while reportedly saying “You’re done. You’re done. You’re done,” local news outlet WHEC reported.

Following the incident, Zeldin said in a statement that he and his running mate, Alison Esposito, were unharmed.

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