Man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi on a ‘suicide mission’

Man Accused Of Attacking Paul Pelosi On A ‘Suicide Mission’
Pelosi-Husband Assaulted, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Olga R Rodriguez and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press

The man accused of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home, beating her husband and seeking to kidnap her told police he was on a “suicide mission” and had plans to target other California and federal politicians, according to court papers.

A San Francisco judge ordered David DePape to be held without bail after Adam Lipson, a lawyer for DePape, 42, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during a brief hearing in Superior Court.


It was the first public appearance since the early Friday attack for DePape, allegedly a fringe activist drawn to conspiracy theories.

DePape faces state charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. He also faces federal charges including attempted kidnapping of a US official.

Those charges are outlined in an affidavit detailing the assault, which was largely captured on police body camera imagery after authorities responded to a 911 call from the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights home.

In court papers filed on Tuesday, prosecutors detailed the attack. Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood, the filing said.


DePape allegedly said he had other targets, including a local professor as well as several prominent state and federal politicians – and members of their families.

Pelosi Husband Assaulted
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi (Kevin Wolf/AP/PA)

The attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi sent shockwaves through the political world just days before the hotly contested midterm elections.


Threats against politicians and election officials have been at all-time highs in this first nationwide election since the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, and authorities have issued warning about rising extremism in the US.

Wearing orange jail clothing, DePape spoke only to tell Judge Diane Northway how to pronounce his last name. He is scheduled to return to court on Friday.

After the hearing, Mr Lipson said he looks forward to providing DePape with a “vigorous defence”. He also said he met DePape on Monday night for the first time and had not seen the police reports yet.

“We’re going to be doing a comprehensive investigation of what happened. We’re going to be looking into Mr DePape’s mental state, and I’m not going to talk any further about that until I have more information,” said Mr Lipson, who noted that a no-bail detainer in state court is a moot point because DePape also has been placed on a federal hold in the case.


Pelosi Husband Assaulted
A San Francisco Police vehicle outside the home of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Jeff Chiu/AP/PA)

The Pelosi family had asked for a Zoom link to be able to watch Tuesday’s proceedings but the judge said she did not get the request in time.

In Washington, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger provided a sobering update of security protocols for members of Congress.


He said that although many improvements have been made since the Capitol attack, including the hiring of nearly 280 officers by the end of this year, “there is still a lot of work to do”.

“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for members of Congress,” he said.

He said the attack on Ms Pelosi’s husband was “an alarming reminder of the dangerous threats elected officials and public figures face during today’s contentious political climate”.

Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time and under the protection of her security detail, which does not extend to family members. She swiftly returned to San Francisco, where her husband was hospitalised and underwent surgery for a skull fracture and other injuries.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the assault on Paul Pelosi appeared to be premeditated, and she appealed to Americans to “tone down” the political rhetoric.

Ms Jenkins had said on Monday that prosecutors want to keep DePape behind bars because he poses “obvious and severe public safety risks”.

During a news conference after the hearing, Ms Jenkins said her office will not release the 911 recording or police bodycam footage unless they are presented at trial.

She also said DePape’s shoulder was dislocated during his arrest and that he was wearing a sling under his jail clothing during the hearing.

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