Feds Say Attacker Planned to Break Nancy Pelosi's Kneecaps

David DePape wanted to interrogate speaker about 'lies,' prosecutors say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2022 4:37 PM CDT
Feds Say Attacker Planned to Break Nancy Pelosi's Kneecaps
David DePape is shown in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 13, 2013.   (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

The man accused of breaking into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband early Friday has been hit with federal charges including assault of an immediate family member of a US official with the intent to retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties, the Department of Justice said Monday. According to the federal complaint, 42-year-old David DePape told police he planned to interrogate Nancy Pelosi about political matters and to break her kneecaps if she lied to him, the New York Times reports. He told police she would have to be "wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions," the complaint states.

After DePape broke into the home, he went upstairs to where 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was sleeping and demanded to talk to "Nancy," the federal complaint states, per the AP. After DePape was told she wouldn't be home for days, he said he would wait. The DoJ says when officers responded to a 911 call, they saw Paul Pelosi and DePape struggling over a hammer. "Officers told the men to drop the hammer, and DePape allegedly gained control of the hammer and swung it, striking Pelosi in the head," the DoJ says. "Officers immediately restrained DePape, while Pelosi appeared to be unconscious on the ground."

According to an affidavit from an FBI agent, when officers asked what was going on, DePape "responded that everything was good" and immediately pulled the hammer from Paul Pelosi's grip and hit him with it, fracturing his skull, per the Times. Federal prosecutors say DePape was carrying "a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties." The San Francisco district attorney's office is expected to file its own charges against DePape on Monday. The DA and the city's police chief have spoken out against unfounded conspiracy theories about the attack. (More Paul Pelosi stories.)

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