SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—A San Francisco police officer testified on Dec. 14 that he witnessed the October attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was struck in the head with a hammer and seriously injured.
The testimony of San Francisco Police Officer Kyle Cagney came in a preliminary hearing for suspect David DePape, a 42-year-old who faces multiple charges over the assault, including attempted murder.
“My partner said, ‘Drop the weapon’ … He started to pull the hammer, Mr. Pelosi let go and the man lunged and hit Mr. Pelosi in the head,” Cagney said in court, describing the encounter that left Pelosi with a fractured skull.
Cagney added that the 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was struck in the head “very hard” and collapsed face-first onto the floor, where a pool of blood spread.
The hammer used in the attack, along with a recording of a police interview with DePape, a 911 call, and police body cam footage, were presented before the judge at the San Francisco Superior Court preliminary hearing.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy ruled there’s enough evidence for DePape to go to trial, with his arraignment scheduled for Dec. 28.
DePape faces several state charges, including burglary, elder abuse, and attempted murder. A conviction on those charges carries a penalty of between 13 years and life in prison.
He also faces federal charges of assault on a family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to both sets of charges and is scheduled to appear before a Feb. 8 status hearing on the federal charges.
‘Someone’s in the Home’
The hammer displayed in court was the one allegedly used by DePape to smash a glass door after 2 a.m. on Oct. 28 at Pelosi’s home in Pacific Heights.
Capitol Police video played in court showed DePape swinging the hammer over a dozen times to break the glass before gaining entry.
Once inside the house, DePape awakened Paul Pelosi, who was in bed asleep, according to court documents. DePape then asked him where his wife, Nancy Pelosi, was. He replied he didn’t know Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts so DePape said he’d wait, court documents show.
Police Lt. Carla Hurley, who interviewed DePape on the day of the attack, testified in court that DePape mentioned other targets besides Nancy Pelosi, including actor Tom Hanks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
In the interview recording that was played in court, DePape was heard saying that he hadn’t “specifically” chosen Nancy Pelosi, while condemning the entire political establishment in Washington, railing against “scandal after scandal,” and calling the political atmosphere in the country “[expletive] insane.”
“There is evil in Washington,” DePape told Hurley, according to her court testimony.
‘I Didn’t Come Here to Surrender’
During the hearing, the judge repeated a point made by prosecutor Phoebe Maffei that DePape had come “to the Pelosi house to wipe out and teach a lesson to the people that he believes are corrupt.”
“I didn’t come here to surrender. If you stop me, it’s like stopping me from going after evil and you will take the punishment,” DePape said, according to Maffei.
Hurley testified that DePape said he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and that he wanted to use the hammer to smash her kneecaps and put her in a wheelchair.
After Paul Pelosi told DePape he didn’t know where his wife was, he asked to use the bathroom, according to court documents. DePape let him and, from the bathroom, Pelosi called 911.
In the 911 call played back in court, Paul Pelosi could be heard saying that “someone’s in the home, don’t know who he is,” later telling the operator that “he told me to put the phone down.”
Police arrived within minutes and after entering, encountered the two men struggling for control of the hammer.
‘Drop the Hammer’
Responding to a demand by Cagney’s partner to “drop the hammer,” Pelosi let go and as he did, DePape swung it and hit the elder man in the head.
Cagney then tackled DePape and cuffed him, while his partner administered first aid to Pelosi.
Paul Pelosi was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands and was later released.
In DePape’s backpack, police found discovered a roll of tape, rope, and rubber gloves.
DePape later told authorities he wanted to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, who he saw as the “leader” of the Democrat Party’s lies. He said he wanted to orchestrate a scenario in which the Speaker would have to be brought into Congress in a wheelchair as a sign to other lawmakers that there are consequences for their actions.
DePape, a Canadian national, is in the United States illegally, according to federal officials.
His lawyer, Adam Lipson, told reporters after the hearing that the judge’s ruling to proceed to trial came as no surprise.
DePape’s former girlfriend apologized to Nancy Pelosi for the attack in a series of letters, in which she said DePape suffers from “deep depression and severe PTSD” and had a tragic childhood, including child sexual abuse.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.