SAN FRANCISCO — The 83-year-old husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to recount the night he was struck in the head with a hammer by a conspiracy-obsessed attacker in the couple’s home last year.
Paul Pelosi will testify in the federal trial against David DePape, the defense revealed Thursday as both sides laid out their arguments in a case of political violence that stunned the nation.
DePape, a Canadian citizen with an online history that suggested a fascination with the QAnon conspiracy and support for former President Donald Trump, is charged with assault and kidnapping in the October 2022 attack at the couple’s hilltop home in San Francisco.
Nancy Pelosi was not at home at the time but DePape admitted after his arrest and in a later jailhouse interview with a local TV station that he intended to kidnap the congressmember as part of a broader plot against public figures.
DePape attorney Jodi Linker told jurors the defense doesn’t contest the “awful, horrific” assault on Paul Pelosi captured on police body camera footage but will dispute whether the defendant intended to prevent the former House speaker from carrying out her official duties, a component of the federal kidnapping charge.
“He did something awful, but as you will hear it was not on account of Nancy Pelosi’s duties as a member of Congress,” Linker told jurors. “This case here in federal court is a narrow one. The case here is about the ‘why.’”
Prosecutors framed the case in opening statements as overwhelmingly showing that DePape intended to attack Pelosi and other Democratic figures, including Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The prosecution played an audio recording of DePape’s jailhouse call to a television reporter in January. DePape told the reporter that he only regretted not hitting more targets on his list and should have gone to the Pelosis’ home more prepared.
“I have an important message for everyone in America: You’re welcome,” DePape said. “I would also like to apologize. … I’m so sorry I couldn’t get more of them.”