Paul Pelosi attacker DePape was prepared to kidnap and injure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, federal complaint charges


Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi arrive on the red carpet for the Time 100 Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York on April 23, 2019.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

The California man accused of viciously attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer was prepared to kidnap and break the kneecaps of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when he invaded the couple’s San Francisco home, federal prosecutors revealed in a new criminal complaint Monday.

David DePape, 42, was charged with the federal crimes of attempted kidnapping of a federal official, and assaulting an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official.

DePape already was facing state charges of attempted murder and other felonies in the early Friday morning attack on the 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, who suffered a skull fracture, and who remained in an intensive care unit Monday.

The new federal complaint says that evidence shows DePape, who had been living in a garage of a home in the city of Richmond for nearly two years, “was prepared to detain and injure Speaker Pelosi when he entered” the Democrat’s residence.

Nancy Pelosi, who as House speaker is second in the line of presidential succession, was not at home during Friday’s incident.

Authorities said DePape arrived there toting zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer, authorities said.

During an interview with San Francisco Police after his arrest, DePape “stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her,” the complaint said.

“If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break ‘her kneecaps,’ ” according to the complaint. “DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth.’

“In the course of the interview, DePape articulated he viewed Nancy as the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party,” the complaint said.

“DePape also later explained that by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”

David Depape is shown in Berkeley, Calif.,on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. An intruder attacked and severely beat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, while searching for the Democratic leader. Police were called to the home to check on Paul Pelosi when they discovered the 82-year-old and the suspect, Depape, both grabbing onto the hammer, said Police Chief William Scott.

Michael Short | San Francisco Chronicle | AP

The complaint said that the suspect “also explained generally that he wanted to use Nancy to lure another individual to DePape.” That other person is not identified in the complaint.

The charging document says DePape admitted breaking into the house through a glass door in the back, using the hammer he had brought with him.

Paul “Pelosi was asleep when DePape came into Pelosi’s bedroom and stated he wanted to talk to ‘Nancy,’ ” the complaint said, noting that the suspect later told police that Pelosi appeared surprised when he showed up and announced, “he was looking for Nancy.”

“When Pelosi told him that Nancy was not there, DePape stated that he would sit and wait,” and DePape reiterated that after Pelosi said the speaker would not be home for several days, the complaint said.

DePape soon afterward took out zip ties to bind Pelosi so that DePape “could go to sleep as he was tired from having to carry a backpack to the Pelosi residence,” the complaint said.

Pelosi moved toward another part of the house but was stopped by DePape, and together they returned to the bedroom, the complaint said.

“While talking with each other, Pelosi went into a bathroom, where Pelosi grabbed a phone to call 9-1-1,” the complaint said.

“DePape stated he felt like Pelosi’s actions compelled him to respond.,” according to the complaint.

“DePape remembered thinking that there was no way the police were going to forget about the phone call,” the complaint recounted.

“DePape explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender. DePape reiterated this sentiment elsewhere in the interview.”

DePape told police he and Pelosi then went downstairs to the front door.

“The police arrived and knocked on the door, and Pelosi ran over and opened it,” the complaint said.

“Pelosi grabbed onto DePape’s hammer, which was in DePape’s hand. At this point in the interview, DePape repeated that DePape did not plan to surrender and that he would go ‘through’ Pelosi.”

“Pelosi greeted the officers. The officers asked them what was going on. DePape responded that everything was good,” the federal complaint said. “Officers then asked Pelosi and DePaper to drop the hammer.”

When officers ordered the men to drop the hammer, DePape gained control of it, and hit Pelosi in the head, knocking him out, authorities said.

DePape later told police that Pelosi’s actions resulted in Pelosi “taking the punishment instead” of Nancy Pelosi.

Police found a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties from the crime scene, the Justice Department noted in a press release Monday. Some of those zip ties were in Paul Pelosi’s bedroom.

A later search of the garage where DePape was living found two hammers, a sword and a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, along with documents that included DMV paperwork and IRS letters.

Pelosi remained in the intensive care unit at a San Francisco hospital, surrounded by family members, on Monday morning, sources told NBC.

Law enforcement officials including FBI agents on Sunday obtained Pelosi’s account of the home invasion, a source with knowledge of the investigation told NBC.

Pelosi told police he had been asleep when DePape, whom he did not know, entered his bedroom looking for Nancy Pelosi, authorities said.

Pelosi had all of his cognitive functions and seemed to recall everything about the incident, the source said. 



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