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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
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Brutal bodycam footage revealed as trial begins for accused attacker of Paul Pelosi

The footage showed Paul Pelosi being struck multiple times with a hammer before collapsing into a pool of blood.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Prosecutors played graphic police body camera footage of the October 2022 attack on Paul Pelosi on the first day of David DePape’s trial today in San Francisco. DePape, 43 is accused of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and attacking her husband, Paul Pelosi, 83, with a hammer, fracturing his skull. He has admitted to the attack and pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to last through next Wednesday in U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s courtroom.

The body camera footage is about three-and-a-half minutes long. In the footage, police arrive at the Pelosi residence and knock on the front door. Paul Pelosi answers the door. He and DePape appear nonchalant and smiling; each have one hand on a hammer. When police tell DePape to drop the hammer, he refuses before striking Pelosi multiple times with the weapon. Police then tackle DePape and arrest him.

While DePape is being arrested, the footage shows Pelosi lying on a wooden floor in a large pool of his own blood. His breathing is strained and snoring, gurgling sounds are heard.

“It was a very loud, distinct noise that sounded like iron hitting the skull,” said Kolby Wilmes, the SFPD officer who captured the footage of the moment of the attack.

Wilmes referred to the snoring sound as “agonal breathing.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Vartain Horn asked Willmes to define agonal breathing.

“It’s your body essentially fighting, it’s trying to push oxygen to the brain. The last chance to keep you alive,” Willmes said.

DePape’s public defender, Angela Chuang, told the jury that Willmes is not a medical professional even though he has been trained on some life-saving procedure. She also said his police report had inconsistencies; his report the night of the attack referred to the sounds as “snoring,” and not agonal breathing, Chuang said.

Further police body camera footage shows DePape being questioned while he received medical attention for a dislocated shoulder that happened when police tackled him.

In the footage, DePape admits to the attack, saying that the police watched him do it.

“I’m fucking sick of the lies coming from Washington D.C. Hurting him was not my goal, but he forced the issue. I will go through him if I have to,” DePape said.

In opening arguments, Horn showed the jury the hammer in a clear plastic bag and said that DePape bought the supplies for the attack in August 2022. After buying supplies, he conducted research about Nancy Pelosi, even buying a subscription service to find her address and the names and ages of her children. 

“When the defendant broke into the speaker’s home, he had a plan. It was a violent plan. He had a plan to break her kneecaps; to teach her a lesson,” Horn told the jury. 

That plan included kidnapping a cadre of politicians; he kept info about numerous politicians in a folder on his computer labeled “favorite politicians,” Horn revealed.

“When his plan was thwarted and with police at the door, the gig was up; the defendant released his plan of violence on Paul,” Horn said.

In the defense’s opening arguments, public defender Jodi Linker said that DePape believed in a pedophiliac cabal including politicians, Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks, George Soros, and Hunter Biden.

Linker said DePape was delusional; he believed that Pelosi was “part of an elite ruling class pulling the strings and using her power to manipulate the country, spread lies, and steal votes from Donald Trump. The evidence in this trial will show that Mr. DePape believes these things; he believes them with every ounce of his being.”

Linker admitted that DePape attacked Paul Pelosi, but she said the case is not a whodunit. Why DePape attacked Pelosi matters, Linker told the jury. She said that the state must prove that DePape entered the Pelosi home to retaliate against Nancy Pelosi because of her job performance.

“This was a larger plan to stop the wealthy elite, to protect children and to stop the lies and tell the truth,” Linker said, not retaliation because of Nancy Pelosi’s job performance.

She said he hit Paul Pelosi in a “moment of despair” when police arrived and he realized his plan was foiled.

SFPD investigator Carla Hurley also testified. She interviewed DePape at a hospital the night of the attack.

A 16-minute audio excerpt of the nearly one-hour footage was played for the jury. In the audio, a man identified as DePape admitted to the attack and said he did it because Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton “smeared” Donald Trump and stole the 2020 election from him.

“Record breaking crime spree the democratic party has been on the last few years,” DePape tells the investigator.

Hurley asked DePape what DePape would have done had Nancy Pelosi been home.

“I was going to hold her hostage. If she fucking lied, I was going to break her kneecaps. I knew, beyond a doubt, that she would fucking lie,” DePape told Hurley.

Hurley asked DePape if he took medications or had any mental health problems because she said she found his remarks “disturbing.”

“I am not of unwell mind,” DePape said. “I. Knew. Exactly. What. I. Was. Doing,” he said, emphasizing the words slowly.

The trial continues Monday. Paul Pelosi is expected to take the stand.

Prosecutor Laura Vartain Horn shows the jury a hammer in a bag. (Vicki Behringer via Courthouse News)
Categories / Criminal, Government, National, Politics

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