David DePape, charged with attempted murder and other crimes in connection with a violent attack on Paul Pelosi, was on a suicide mission and had additional targets in mind when he broke into the Pelosi’s home last week, San Francisco prosecutors said on Tuesday with court documents.
DePape, 42, appeared briefly in court and pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges related to Friday’s hammer attack on Pelosi. Federal authorities said DePape planned to hold House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wife of Paul Pelosi, hostage and fracture her kneecaps.
In a motion to refuse bail, the San Francisco Attorney’s Office said DePape told officers and medics at the scene, “I’m fed up with the insane amount of lies coming out of Washington, DC
“I came here to have a little chat with his wife,” DePape added, referring to Paul Pelosi, according to court filings released Tuesday. “I didn’t really mean to hurt him, but you know, that was a suicide squad.”
Prior to his court appearance, during which he wore a sling to support his arm, DePape was transferred from a hospital to the county jail system.
Adam Lipson, a veteran assistant public defender, said DePape sustained a dislocated shoulder during his arrest at the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights home. Lipson said he has not yet seen the police reports.
“We will be investigating the mental state of Mr. DePape,” said Lipson, who added that he had not reviewed the prosecution’s motion to deny bail and said it was moot because DePape was also federally held.
In addition to attempted murder, DePape was charged with home burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, falsely detaining an elder, and threatening an officer and his family. He faces 13 years to life in prison if convicted on all local charges. He is also charged with assault and kidnapping.
San Francisco Dist. atty Brooke Jenkins said Monday that prosecutors want to keep DePape in jail because he poses “obvious and serious risks to public safety.”
In a motion to deny bail, prosecutors described DePape as on a suicide mission.
DePape had other targets in mind — including a Bay Area professor and prominent state and federal politicians and their families — when he broke into the Pelosis’ home. He planned to await the return of the speaker, who was in Washington, DC at the time, the documents said.
Judge Diane Northway ordered DePape held without bail pending further hearings.
According to a federal affidavit filed Monday, DePape was carrying a backpack containing zip ties, a rope and a hammer when he smashed through the glass patio door of the Pelosis home. He woke Paul Pelosi, who was home alone, and asked, “Where’s Nancy?” The 82-year-old manager was able to secretly call 911 to alert police to the intruder.
Tuesday’s court documents provide more details about the violent encounter.
When an officer came to Pelosi’s door and asked, “What’s going on here?” DePape and Pelosi wrestle with a hammer. DePape then “snatched it from Pelosi, stepped back and lunged at Mr. Pelosi,” hit him “full force with the hammer” in the head, and knocked him unconscious, court records show.
Officers disarmed DePape while Pelosi lay in a pool of blood for three minutes before regaining consciousness, according to the request.
DePape told an officer at the scene that “he acted alone,” according to the most recent filing.
DePape later revealed to San Francisco police that he planned to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and fracture her kneecaps, calling her the “leader of the pack” of lies spread by the Democratic Party, authorities said.
During the course of his police interview, DePape told investigators “that if she fractures Nancy’s kneecaps, she would have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress that actions have consequences.”
Paul Pelosi is recovering from surgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital “to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.” In a statement, his wife’s office said he was improving but faced a “long process of recovery.”
“I want to say I’m pleased to hear that Mr. Pelosi is making good progress in his recovery and we certainly wish him the best,” Lipson said Tuesday, noting that his office was “conducting a full investigation into this.” will perform what happened.”
The federal complaint against DePape debunks conspiracy theories that have circulated around the internet, fueling rhetoric in right-wing circles and casting doubt on some of the facts of the attack. The conspiracy theories have gone from the fringe to the mainstream, and members of Congress share them.
The complaint charges DePape with assaulting an immediate family member of a US official, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. DePape was also charged with attempted kidnapping of a federal agent, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Jenkins said Monday that the attack was “politically motivated” based on DePape’s statements and comments to Paul Pelosi.
“It’s very sad to see that we’re once again at a point in history where people believe it’s okay to express their political feelings through violence,” Jenkins said. “It shows that we need to calm things down. We have to decide that as an American society, we’re going to be more respectful.”
“Mr. DePape specifically targeted the Pelosi home to confront Speaker Pelosi,” Jenkins said Monday when announcing the charges against him. “That home and the Speaker herself were specific targets of the defendants.”
The attack fueled heightened concerns about politically linked violence. On Tuesday, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement, “We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide members of Congress with additional layers of physical security.”
A Times review of his online accounts revealed that DePape was embroiled in the world of far-right conspiracies, anti-Semitism and hatred.
On a personal blog DePape maintained, posts include “Manipulation of History,” “Holohoax,” and “It’s OK to be white.” He mentions 4chan, a popular far-right message board. He posted videos about COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies and the war in Ukraine, which was a ploy for Jews to buy land.
DePape’s screeds include posts about QAnon, an unsubstantiated theory that former President Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshipping Democratic elites who run a child sex ring and control the world. In an Aug. 23 post titled “Q,” DePape wrote, “Either Q is Trump himself or Q is the deep state mole of Trump’s inner circle.”
Lipson, who said he first met DePape Monday night, said his client’s “vulnerability to misinformation” was being investigated as part of his defense.
Alexandra E. Petri, a Times contributor, contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-01/david-depape-pleads-not-guilty-in-paul-pelosi-attack David DePape planned attacks on other politicians, prosecutors say