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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Paul Pelosi attack suspect pleads not guilty to state attempted murder charges

David DePape, a 42-year-old Canadian national, also faces federal charges in the attack of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — David DePape, accused of attacking and injuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in their San Francisco home, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a laundry list of state charges including attempted murder and also waived his right to a speedy trial. 

He will return to San Francisco County Superior Court on Feb. 23 for a scheduling conference where a trial date could be set.

At a preliminary hearing this month, investigators shared hours of evidence in the case. Prosecutors have connected DePape, 42, from the Bay Area suburb of Richmond, to antisemitic and QAnon-affiliated conspiracy theory posts circulated online.

Body cam footage from San Francisco Police officers of the incident during which prosecutors say DePape hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer was played in court during the preliminary hearing and debunks conspiracy theories spread by conservative media and fringe websites that the incident never happened.

The court also heard part of an audio interview between one investigator and DePape, during which DePape described himself as being on a “suicide mission” with no intention of “surrender.” He told the investigator he had a plan to kidnap Pelosi and “break her kneecaps” as a warning to other politicians, and had as targets many others including Governor Gavin Newsom and actor Tom Hanks.

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

San Francisco Judge Stephen Murphy ruled there was enough evidence to arraign DePape on all six state charges, including attempted murder with clear calculation and intent and threatening the life of or causing serious bodily harm to a public official.

DePape — a Canadian citizen in the country illegally since 2008, according to federal prosecutors — then pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a hearing within 10 days at his arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court. He is being held without bail. 

On Wednesday, he again denied any involvement in the attack and pleaded not guilty to charges of 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.

DePape also faces federal charges and prosecutors in that case told a judge they need until another hearing on Feb. 8 for a “substantial” discovery process. 

Public defender Adam Lipson said he would not be commenting on this case. In a statement, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said DePape "will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and held accountable for his heinous crimes."

San Francisco resident Paula Williams attended the hearing, saying she will come to every court hearing to support the Pelosi family. 

“If the public will show up to these hearings, then the community as a whole will know that we as a city and county don’t stand for this to happen, we don’t allow it,” she said. 

Paula Williams attended a court hearing in San Francisco, Calif. in the Paul Pelosi attack case. (Natalie Hanson / Courthouse News)
Follow @nhanson_reports
Categories / Criminal, Politics

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