By Elias Hunt
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was assaulted at his San Francisco home on Oct. 28.
David DePape, 42, has been charged with six counts relating to the attack, including attempted murder, burglary, assault, false imprisonment and threatening the family member of a public official. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Court documents show that DePape brandished a hammer during the attack and allegedly woke Mr. Pelosi by standing over his bedside, demanding he give up his wife’s location. He then attacked Pelosi, wounding him in his head, right arm and hands, rendering him unconscious. San Francisco police responded shortly after, apprehending DePape without a struggle. Pelosi suffered a fractured skull, according to the Associated Press.
DePape told officers that he was “sick of the level of lies” coming from Washington, and that he was on a “suicide mission” and intended to attack other elected officials.
Speaker Pelosi told the Associated Press that her husband was grateful to the 911 operator who directed law enforcement to their home, as well as the emergency responders and hospital staff for “their excellent and compassionate life-saving treatment.” He has since been released from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home.
According to an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DePape was in the U.S. illegally. Originally from Canada, he entered the country on March 8, 2008, at San Ysidro Point of Entry in San Diego as a temporary visitor, which are generally limited to six months per visit. He had entered and left the U.S. several times before this and previously stayed past his legal limit after entering the country in 2000.
Many GOP leaders have taken a moderate stance on the issue, condemning it while simultaneously rejecting any link to their campaign-trail attacks on Nancy Pelosi. Others, including many pro-Trump commentators, posited theories that a third person answered the door when police arrived at the Pelosi home, which San Francisco law enforcement has since rejected.
In addition, another conspiracy theory is circulating that first responders found broken glass both within and outside DePape’s point of entry, implying that it was a “break out” rather than a “break in”.
This claim is in direct contrast to a Capitol Police review of security camera footage from the Pelosi’s residence during the attack and also DePape’s personal admission to breaking in, using a hammer to break the glass from the outside.
DePape is currently being held without bail. A status hearing was set for Nov. 28 and a preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 14.
UC Hastings law professor George Bisharat, a former trial lawyer for the Office of the Public Defender in San Francisco, told ABC News what DePape's defense may be planning.
"In this particular case it appears possibly that there may be a mental defense, so the defense attorney is likely to ask any questions to elicit testimony that substantiates that the defendant was acting bizarrely," said Basharat.
"He could be found incompetent to stand trial in which case he would remain in custody for a period of time undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment and may then at some point return to court to face charges."