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Discovery nearly done in federal case against Paul Pelosi attack suspect

Federal prosecutors say they've amassed 16,000 pages of discovery in the case.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Federal prosecutors say they've nearly completed discovery in the criminal case against David DePape, the man accused of bludgeoning U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi with a hammer this past October.

During a five-minute hearing Wednesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Waldinger told U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley prosecutors are still waiting on images of DePape’s devices. That should give them the material they need for full discovery, he said.

In all, discovery amounts to about 16,000 pages. Defense attorneys Angela Chuang and Jodi Linker, standing on either side of DePape as they faced the judge, told Corley they would need time to review the documents and forensic images.

Corley set the next hearing for March 15.

DePape, 42, stands accused of violently attacking 82-year-old Paul Pelosi early in the morning of October 28, after breaking into the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights. He also faces charges of attempted kidnapping of a federal official.

Paul Pelosi sustained a skull fracture in the attack and underwent surgery for the fracture and other injured limbs. Then-Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack, protected by her security detail. 

Officers found a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves and zip ties at the scene. Federal prosecutors say DePape broke into the house looking for Speaker Pelosi and found her husband in bed. DePape told officers he was going to hold Speaker Pelosi hostage and talk to her, saying he views her as the “leader of the pack."

"DePape also later explained that by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions," an FBI agent said in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint. "DePape also explained generally that he wanted to use Nancy to lure another individual to DePape."

DePape made online posts about QAnon conspiracy theories and racist beliefs and was known in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked at protests against local ordinances requiring people to be clothed in public, according to investigators. DePape's online entries included defending former President Donald Trump and claims that any journalists who denied Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election “should be dragged straight out into the street and shot.”

In addition to the federal charges, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has charged DePape with several counts including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary false imprisonment and threatening the life or serious bodily harm to a public official. He is scheduled to appear in San Francisco County Superior Court on Feb. 23.

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