Monday May 20, 2024

FBI, Capitol police testify man accused of attacking Pelosi's husband

Published : 13 Nov 2023, 23:03

  By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, AP
A Department of Homeland Security officer walks the perimeter of the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse where the federal trial of David DePape is underway in San Francisco, on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. Photo: AP/Noah Berger.

Prosecutors brought forward a string of law enforcement officials Monday to provide context around video that's at the crux of their case against David DePape, the man accused of attacking former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband at the couple's San Francisco home last year.

DePape has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official with intent to retaliate against the official for performance of their duties. Prosecutors say DePape bludgeoned Paul Pelosi with a hammer in the early hours of Oct. 28, 2022, just days before that year's midterm elections.

Federal prosecutors quickly moved through their witness list on the trial's second day, bringing forward an FBI agent who collected the electronics DePape was carrying, a U.S. Capitol police officer who watches the surveillance cameras at the Pelosis' home and another who has protected Nancy Pelosi since 2006, and a Bay Area Rapid Transit police sergeant.

Paul Pelosi was also expected to testify.

Some witnesses helped verify time stamps on footage from surveillance cameras at the Pelosis' home, which are set to Eastern Time, and on BART trains, which were an hour behind Pacific Time.

FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor testified that video showed DePape hit Paul Pelosi at least three times.

Prosecutors played police body camera footage in which paramedics help Paul Pelosi, who is facedown on the floor. One paramedic holds a white towel against Pelosi's head as another puts a neck and head brace on him before several first responders help him onto a stretcher chair. Pelosi's face and hands are covered in blood.

Defense attorney Jodi Linker told jurors last week that she won't dispute that DePape attacked Paul Pelosi. Instead, she will argue that DePape believed "with every ounce of his being" that he was taking action to stop government corruption and the abuse of children by politicians and actors. She said that means the government's charges that DePape was trying to retaliate or interfere with Nancy Pelosi's official duties don't fit.

Federal prosecutor Laura Vartain Horn told jurors during opening statements Thursday that DePape started planning the attack in August and that the evidence and FBI testimony will show he researched his targets online, collecting phone numbers and addresses, even paying for a public records service to find information.

If convicted, DePape faces life in prison. He also has pleaded not guilty to charges in state court of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies. A state trial has not been scheduled.

Federal prosecutors say DePape smashed his shoulder through a glass panel on a door in the back of the Pelosis' Pacific Heights mansion and confronted a sleeping Paul Pelosi, who was wearing boxer shorts and a pajama top.

"Where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?" DePape asked, standing over Paul Pelosi around 2 a.m. holding a hammer and zip ties, according to court records. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington and under the protection of her security detail, which does not extend to family members.

Paul Pelosi called 911 and two police officers showed up and witnessed DePape strike him in the head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious, court records showed.

Nancy Pelosi's husband of 60 years later underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands.

After his arrest, DePape, 43, allegedly told a San Francisco detective that he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage. He said if she told him the truth, he would let her go and if she lied, he was going to "break her kneecaps" to show other members of Congress there were "consequences to actions," according to prosecutors.

DePape, who lived in a garage in the Bay Area city of Richmond and had been doing odd carpentry jobs to support himself, allegedly told authorities he had other targets, including a women's and queer studies professor, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks and President Joe Biden's son Hunter.