SAN FRANCISCO – The husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remembered On Monday, he is attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant and wakes up in a pool of his own blood.
Paul Pelosi, 83, took the stand to testify against the man accused of attacking him with a hammer in a politically motivated attack on October 28, 2022.
“The door opened and a very large man came in with a hammer in one hand and some tapes in the other and he said, ‘Where’s Nancy,’ when I think that woke me up,” Pelosi testified. “I’m sleeping and he bursts through the door and it woke me up.”
The husband of the former house speaker suffered a fractured skull during the attack.
The suspect, David DePape, has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.
Pelosi testified that he did not set his home’s alarm before going to bed, so there was no warning sound when DePape broke the glass of a back door to gain entry.
The assailant had a hammer and zip ties, and Pelosi said, “I recognized that I was in grave danger.”
“He was standing in the doorway, and I guess he was 3.4 feet from me,” Pelosi testified. “It was a huge sense of shock to see someone breaking into the house.”
When Pelosi told her attacker that the speaker of the house was in Washington, DC, DePape reportedly said that he had to tie him up and that they would await his return.
Pelosi managed to get her cell phone and call 911 from the bathroom before DePape grabbed the phone away, he testified.
The victim said he knew his best chance for survival was to come downstairs to meet responding police, and Pelosi testified he told DePape, “Since all your stuff is downstairs, why don’t we go downstairs, you can tie me and you can get some sleep.”
When officers arrived, Pelosi said he reached for DePape’s hand with the hammer before the assailant pushed him away and began beating him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Vartain asked Pelosi what he remembered next, and he said, “Waking up in a pool of blood.”
Pelosi said he still has headaches and dizziness from the brutal attack.
The victim joked that he was happy his hair had grown back, saying it “must be Italian roots or something”.
Pelosi concluded her testimony without cross-examination from DePape’s defense attorneys, who do not dispute that their client was the attacker.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday, and deliberations are expected to begin later that day.
Before Pelosi took the stand Monday, prosecutors showed jurors police body camera footage of the attack, in which the victim was hit three times.
The disturbing footage, played in slow motion, appeared to transfix jurors, although no one audibly reacted.
DePape’s defense previously tried to prevent the government from showing the hammer attack in slow motion, but U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley allowed it.
This federal trial unfolding in downtown San Francisco is sure to expose the corrosive effect of conspiracy theories and misinformation in modern politics.
By the admission of his own defense team, DePape was caught in a rabbit hole of far-right conspiracies that led him to believe the nation is run by a “ruling class engaged in corruption,” defense attorney Jodi Linker told jurors last week.
DePape wasn’t out to kidnap Nancy Pelosi or harm Paul Pelosi, the defense argues, but to use them to reach someone the prosecution calls “Target 1.” That person has been identified as Bay Area researcher and University of Michigan professor Gayle Rubin, a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.
The government has said DePape planned for months to attack the Pelosi home and kidnap the former speaker.
DePape allegedly had $9,000 in cash, zip ties, rope and duct tape in a backpack that he brought to the Pelosi home, according to the government. The assault was caught on the officers’ body cameras.
The suspect has blogged about his belief that foreigners, communists, religious minorities and global elites all threaten America, authorities have said.
He has made repeated baseless claims that Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in 2020 was not legitimate and embraced QAnon, a far-right movement that claims the United States is secretly run by a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles, officials have said.
DePape faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Chris Young reported from San Francisco, and David K. Li from New York City.