Accused Paul Pelosi attacker, held without bond, pleads not guilty

Politics

(NewsNation) — The man accused of attacking U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in San Francisco Superior Court.

The judge ordered that David DePape be held without bail and served him with a protective order. The content of the protective order is uncertain.

Adam Lipson, DePape’s public defender, said he has not yet reviewed the state’s motion to detain without bond but noted that DePape is currently on a federal hold in the county’s jail. On Monday afternoon, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said prosecutors wanted to hold DePape without bail due to “obvious and severe public safety risks.”

DePape, 42, faces both federal and state-level charges after allegedly breaking into the Pelosi residence early Friday in San Francisco and attacking 82-year-old Paul Pelosi.

Federally, DePape faces charges of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. In California, he is charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threats to a public official and their family.

Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi
FILE – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband, Paul Pelosi, arrive at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner, on Dec. 7, 2019, in Washington. On Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, a man broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California home and severely beat her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer. The 82-year-old underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

The San Francisco district attorney believes the attack was politically motivated and “specifically targeted” toward the Pelosi family. DePape is known as a “pro-nudity” activist with his social media account showing him to seemingly be a conspiracy theorist.

In an interview with San Francisco Police, DePape reportedly said he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and speak with her. If she told him the “truth,” he would release her and he would allegedly break “her kneecaps” if she “lied.” According to news reports, DePape yelled, “Where’s Nancy?” multiple times during the break-in. Authorities say Nancy Pelosi was not home at the time.

Just before 2:30 a.m. Friday, DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosi home through a glass back door and going into the couple’s bedroom on the second floor, where Paul Pelosi had been sleeping. State prosecutors said they will not disclose whether the residence had an alarm system in place.

The San Francisco district attorney reported that Paul Pelosi tried to get to the home’s elevator, which contains a phone, but DePape blocked him from doing so.

From there, Paul Pelosi eventually managed to make his way to the bathroom, dial 911 and alert police to the presence of the intruder, speaking in code to a dispatcher, investigators said.

According to the San Francisco district attorney, DePape realized Pelosi called the police and took him downstairs near the front door of the home. She said two police officers arrived at the home minutes after Pelosi made the phone call.

Police reported finding the two men struggling with a hammer and ordered them to drop it, before they observed DePape strike Pelosi in the head with the hammer. It’s unclear how many times Pelosi was hit. San Francisco police reported that the officers went into the home, tackled and disarmed DePape, who prosecutors say brought two hammers, zip ties, rope and a roll of tape into the residence.

Paul Pelosi has been in the hospital since the attack, recovering from surgery on a fractured skull along with serious injuries to his hands and right arm. Lipson told reporters DePape has a dislocated shoulder following his arrest.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins insisted the San Francisco Police Department is doing everything they can to protect Speaker Pelosi and her family. She said evidence like the 911 call from Pelosi and body camera footage will not be immediately shared with the public since they are still determining whether to play it in court.

Jenkins said the best she can do is hold DePape accountable and express her views on the issue of threats against political figures.

“We are at a point in the United States where political rhetoric has become too inflammatory. We have become a society that thinks it’s acceptable to incite violent acts against our political leaders, and we can’t be that type of America,” Jenkins said.

“We need to pull it back,” she added.

Friday, DePape’s preliminary hearing in a mostly procedural setting is expected to be held at around 9 a.m. It’s unclear if DePape himself will appear in court. Lipson said he plans to vigorously defend his client.

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