The husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen on video fighting for control of a hammer moments before he is struck during a brutal attack in the couple’s San Francisco home last year.
According to the body-camera footage, suspect David DePape wrests the tool from 82-year-old Paul Pelosi and lunges toward him with the hammer over his head. The punch to Pelosi happens behind the camera, and the officers rush into the house, one of them cursing, and jump on DePape.
Pelosi is seen lying face down on the floor in his pajamas and underwear, apparently unconscious. According to officials, he awoke in a pool of his own blood.
The release comes after a coalition of news organizations, including The Associated Press, requested access to evidence presented in open court last month. The exhibits had been withheld from journalists by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
A state court judge ruled on Wednesday that there was no reason to keep the video hidden.
Parts of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call from Oct. 28 are included in the evidence, as are video images from Capitol police surveillance cameras, a body camera worn by one of the two police officers who arrived at the house, and a nearly 18-minute audio recording of DePape’s interview with police.
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The Capitol Police video shows DePape approaching a glass-panel door, leaving, and then returning with a large backpack and two other bags. He set everything down and took out a hammer, pausing to put on gloves before smashing the door glass and stepping through an opening.
In both state and federal cases, DePape has pleaded not guilty. He is being held without bail in jail. He is accused of attempted murder, elder abuse, and assaulting a federal official’s immediate family member.
The public defender’s office in San Francisco, which is representing DePape, said they planned to issue a statement later Friday.
Members of Congress have faced an increase in threats in the two years since the January 6, 2021, insurgency at the United States Capitol.
During the Jan. 6 attack, rioters chanted menacingly for the speaker as they rampaged through the halls, attempting to halt certification of Joe Biden‘s presidential election victory over Donald Trump. One man was convicted of eight criminal counts this week after putting his feet on a desk in Pelosi’s office and leaving her a note punctuated with a sexist expletive.
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DePape allegedly broke into the couple’s home while Paul Pelosi was sleeping. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time and was guarded by her security detail, which does not include family members.
After nearly 60 years, her husband underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture as well as serious injuries to his right arm and hands. He has since made public appearances while wearing a hat and a glove that covered his wounds.
Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that her husband’s safety was her top priority, and she didn’t know if she would watch the video once it was released.
“I don’t even know if I will see that,” she admitted. “I mean, it would be a very hard thing to see an assault on my husband’s life, but I don’t know.”
The body-camera video of San Francisco Officer Kolby Wilmes begins with officers approaching the brick home and rapping on the door. The door opens in about 20 seconds, and the officers discuss whether they are in the right house during that time.
“Hi, guys, how are you?” Paul Pelosi says as the door opens.
Both men are standing at the door, facing the officers. The hammer is initially hidden in the shadows, and it takes about five seconds for a flashlight to reveal DePape clutching Pelosi’s right hand, which is gripping around the hammer head, with his left hand. In the first few seconds, there is no indication of a struggle.
“What’s going on, man?” the officer inquires.
“Everything’s good,” DePape responds.
“Drop the hammer,” says the officer.
DePape says no and begins to pull it away from Pelosi. “Hey, hey.” Pelosi says.
DePape seizes the hammer, winds up with his right, and delivers a vicious overhand blow as Pelosi fades from view and officers rush in. As the officers struggled with DePape and Pelosi lay on the ground, they called for backup.
DePape told San Francisco Police Lt. Carla Hurley after his arrest that he didn’t regret the attack, even though it wasn’t on Nancy Pelosi, his intended target. DePape told Hurley that he was going after Nancy Pelosi for deceiving the American people and that he intended to hold her hostage for her crimes. He believed the debunked conspiracy theory that Democrats stole Trump’s 2020 election.
“Day in, day out, the person who was on the TV lying every day was Pelosi,” he said.
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He threatened to hold her hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied.
He expressed surprise at finding Paul Pelosi in the house. DePape stated that he intended to bind Paul Pelosi so that he could sleep because carrying a heavy backpack to his house had exhausted him.
When Hurley asked DePape why he didn’t leave when he realized Nancy Pelosi wasn’t there and the cops were on their way, he compared himself to the Founding Fathers.
“They fought the British and the tyranny. They didn’t just (expletive) give up. And when I left the house, I went to fight tyranny, not to surrender “He stated.
Last year, the U.S. Capitol Police investigated nearly 10,000 threats to members, more than doubling the number from four years prior.
Harassment and intimidation have also been directed at public officials in the United States, ranging from local school board members to election workers.
A former Republican candidate for a state House seat in New Mexico was arrested this month in connection with a series of shootings targeting the homes or offices of elected Democratic officials, and a Kansas man was convicted of threatening a Republican congressman.