David DePape pleads not guilty in Paul Pelosi hammer attack as prosecutors describe ‘suicide mission’

‘There’s also been a lot of speculation about misinformation and that’s certainly something we’re going to ... delve into as his defense team,’ suspect’s public defender says

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 01 November 2022 23:08 GMT
Nancy Pelosi's husband attacked during break-in at San Francisco home

The man accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in his San Francisco home has pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance.

David DePape, 42, was arraigned on Tuesday afternoon during a brief appearance at San Francisco’s Superior Court, Reuters reported.

He is facing federal and state charges of attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, threats to a public official and their family, assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official.

A courtroom sketch of David DePape
A courtroom sketch of David DePape (REUTERS/Vicki Behringer)

In court filings, officials described the alleged assailant’s plans as a “suicide mission” that involved further goals to attack other state and federal officials.

“This case demands detention,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins wrote in documents related to the case. “Nothing less.”

Mr DePape is being held without bond and a bail hearing has been set for next Friday, his public defender Adam Lipson said in comments outside court.

He was moved from a city hospital where he was being treated for a dislocated shoulder to the San Franciso County Jail earlier on Monday, KTVU reported.

According to court documents, Mr DePape told San Francisco police that he broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home armed with a hammer and zip ties because he wanted to hold the Democratic leader hostage.

He encountered Mr Pelosi, 82, who managed to call 911 while trying to reason with the intruder.

David DePape made a first appearance in court on Tuesday where he pled not guilty
David DePape made a first appearance in court on Tuesday where he pled not guilty (AP)

When officers arrived, he allegedly struck Mr Pelosi over the head with the hammer.

Mr Lipton said he had only met his client for the first on Monday night, and said he would mount a “vigorous defence” for his client.

Nancy Pelosi thanked well-wishers for their messages as Paul Pelosi remains in hospital
Nancy Pelosi thanked well-wishers for their messages as Paul Pelosi remains in hospital (Getty)

“There’s been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumour, simply because of the nature of this case, but as of right now I haven’t even seen the police reports,” he told reporters.

“There’s also been a lot of speculation about misinformation and that’s certainly something we’re going to... delve into as his defence team, but again it would be premature to talk about that at this time.”

Mr Lipton said his client suffered a dislocated shoulder during his arrest, adding he was “OK now”.

Mr Pelosi remains in hospital where he underwent surgery for a fractured skull.

Ms Pelosi, the Democrat House Speaker, said in a tweet on Monday that the family were grateful for the “thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes”.

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