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Pelosi attack part of plot to kidnap House Speaker, prosecutors allege

By Jake Beardslee · November 14, 2023

In brief…

  • Suspect David DePape allegedly searched for Speaker Nancy Pelosi with intent to restrain her husband
  • DePape has pleaded not guilty; defense claims he did not intend to harm Pelosis
  • Prosecution alleges DePape planned kidnapping for months; bodycam shows brutal attack
Paul Pelosi testified about the traumatic hammer attack in his home, recalling waking up injured after the intruder struck him multiple times while searching for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco, CA/Wikimedia

Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, testified in court on Monday about the traumatic hammer attack in their San Francisco home last October. Pelosi, 83, recalled waking up in “a pool of his own blood” after being struck in the head multiple times by an intruder searching for the Speaker.

The suspect, David DePape, allegedly broke into the Pelosi residence armed with a hammer, zip ties, rope and duct tape. According to Pelosi’s testimony, DePape asked “Where’s Nancy?” upon entering and said he planned to restrain Pelosi until the Speaker returned from Washington, The Guardian reported. Pelosi managed to call 911 before DePape took his phone away.

In an effort to get to police waiting outside, Pelosi convinced DePape to go downstairs, saying “You can tie me up, and you can get some sleep.” But when officers arrived, DePape began striking Pelosi with the hammer before being apprehended. Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and still experiences headaches and dizziness.

DePape has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping and assault charges. His defense acknowledges he attacked Pelosi but claims he was not trying to harm the couple, rather use them to reach an academic named “Target 1.” Prosecutors allege DePape planned the attack for months with the intent of kidnapping the Speaker.

The bodycam footage, played in slow motion, showed Pelosi being hit three times with the hammer. Nancy Pelosi was not in court but their daughter Christine was present. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday after Paul Pelosi’s brief testimony.