Paul Pelosi remains hospitalized in San Francisco after undergoing surgery for a fractured skull and other injuries.
WASHINGTON – The man accused of attacking the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer has told police he wants to hold the Democratic leader hostage and “break her kneecaps” to show other members of Congress that there are “consequences for actions”, the authorities said on Monday.
In a chilling federal complaint, officials say David DePape, 42, with zip ties, a rope and duct tape in a backpack, broke into the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning and went upstairs to where 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was sleeping. and demanded to speak to “Nancy”.
“This house and the Speaker herself were targeted targets,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said at a Monday night news conference announcing state charges against DePape, including attempted murder.
“It was politically motivated,” Jenkins said. She implored the public to “pay attention to the words we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric.”
The federal motion stands in contrast to the derisive jokes and conspiracy theories about the Pelosi attack being peddled by far-right figures and even some top Republicans just a week before the hard-fought midterm elections. At a campaign event Monday in Arizona, Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake caused a hearty laugh when she joked about security at the Pelosi home.
In addition, DePape faces federal charges of influencing, obstructing, or taking retaliatory action against a federal official by threatening or hurting a family member. He also faces a case of attempted kidnapping of a United States official in the performance of official duties.
No attorney is listed for DePape. He is due to be charged on Tuesday and prosecutors will request that he be held in prison without bail.
When a surprised Paul Pelosi told the intruder she wasn’t there, DePape said he would wait — even after being told she wouldn’t be home for a few days. The attacker then began removing ties to tie him up, the ad said
“Fracturing Nancy’s kneecaps would then require her to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress that her actions have consequences,” the complaint states, DePape told investigators.
RELATED: AP Source: Pelosi attacker wore zip ties, in Echo Jan. 6
DePape told police about his plans to hold Speaker Pelosi hostage to “talk to her” and considered her “the leader of the lie-pack being peddled by the Democratic Party,” according to the eight-page complaint.
“If she told DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he would ‘break her kneecap,’” the complaint reads.
DePape is a Canadian citizen who entered the United States legally in 2000 but stayed long after his visa expired, according to a US official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and on condition of anonymity spoke.
The family described DePape as estranged, and he was known to some in San Francisco as a nudity activist who appeared to embrace a number of conspiracy theories. DePape has lived in a garage in an apartment building in Richmond, California, for the past two years, the complaint says.
The attack was a disturbing echo of the Jan. 6, 2021 riot in the Capitol, when rioters trying to reverse Joe Biden’s election defeat by Donald Trump stormed the halls eerily shouting, “Where’s Nancy?” Some wore zip ties.
Police were dispatched to the home in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood around 2:20 a.m. Friday after Paul Pelosi placed an 911 call. DePape broke into the rear glass door and made his way upstairs to confront Paul Pelosi, police said. They arrived two minutes later to see the two men fighting over a gavel, and then DePape punched Pelosi at least once before he was tackled by officers.
Jenkins said DePape “pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and hit him hard on the head.” She said he had a second hammer in his pocket.
DePape was arrested Friday on suspicion of attempted murder, elder abuse and burglary in a gruesome attack that has fueled the poisoned political climate ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
RELATED: ‘Heartbroken’: Nancy Pelosi breaks silence after husband’s attack
Paul Pelosi remains hospitalized in San Francisco after undergoing surgery for a fractured skull and other injuries. Speaker Pelosi, who was in Washington, DC at the time of the attack, quickly returned to California. Unlike presidents, congressional leaders have security protections for themselves but not for their families.
In the ambulance to the hospital, Paul Pelosi told police he had never seen DePape before, the complaint said.
DePape told police it was difficult to break through the glass door with his hammer, and he went upstairs and told a sleeping Paul Pelosi to wake up. Pelosi appeared surprised, DePape said.
After telling the intruder that his wife was not home, Paul Pelosi asked DePape how they could resolve the situation, the complaint said. DePape stated he was tired and wanted to tie up Pelosi while they waited. Once Paul Pelosi tried to reach the elevator in the house where there is a phone, but DePape blocked it. Pelosi later asked to use the restroom and called 911.
DePape told investigators that he didn’t go, even though he knew Paul Pelosi had called 911 because “like the American Founding Fathers, he was fighting with the British against tyranny without the possibility of surrender,” the affidavit reads .
The federal complaint also states that DePape said he wanted to “use Nancy to lure another person.” But the complaint does not provide any further details of that plan.
“We have no indication that these two men knew each other prior to this incident,” Jenkins said at a briefing Sunday.
The prosecutor’s remarks came as blatant comments about the attack, which were circulating on social media.
Elon Musk tweeted and then deleted a fringe website’s conspiracy theories to his millions of followers over the weekend, as his purchase of Twitter raised concerns the social media platform was no longer trying to curb misinformation and hate speech.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was among those who took the attack on Paul Pelosi lightly by tweeting crude jokes about it.
In the heated political climate a week before the midterm elections, tensions are running high with record threats against lawmakers and other officials.
The incident sparked new security concerns for lawmakers and other elected officials ahead of the midterms.
With nearly 10,000 threats against members of Congress last year, US Capitol Police have advised lawmakers to take precautions. Chief Tom Manger, who heads the U.S. Capitol Police, said the threat from lone gunmen has increased, and the biggest threat the force faces is the historically high number of threats against lawmakers, thousands more than just a few years ago.
The caning of the speaker’s husband is followed by further attacks and threats. This summer, a man was arrested with a gun, knife and zip ties near Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland home after threatening to kill the judge. In 2017, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise was seriously injured when a supporter of Bernie Sanders opened fire on Republicans at a congressional baseball game practice session.
RELATED: ‘It wasn’t a random act’: Intruder attacks Pelosi’s husband, shouting ‘Where’s Nancy’
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/paul-pelosi-attacker-to-be-charged-federally-source/507-f73f27a8-2a66-4ec1-9488-eeb7c5313086 Pelosi suspect charged with two federal crimes