SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Paul Pelosi told a jury the harrowing details of what happened before he was struck in the head three times with a five-pound steel hammer by an intruder in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2022 during the second day of David DePape’s trial.
DePape is accused of attacking Pelosi with the hammer after breaking into the residence of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi looking for her. The attack fractured Pelosi’s skull. Prosecutors played graphic police body camera footage of the attack on the first day of the trial last Thursday.
Pelosi said he went to bed the night of Oct. 27, 2022 around 11:30 p.m., his typical bedtime. He said he woke up when someone “bursted” through the door of his third-floor bedroom around 1:30 a.m.
“The door opened, and a very large man came in, with a hammer in one hand and some ties in the other hand, and he said ‘where’s Nancy?’” Paul Pelosi said.
“What did you tell [DePape]?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Vartain Horn.
“I said ‘she’s not here. She’s in Washington,’” Pelosi replied.
Pelosi told the jury that his wife is protected “24/7” by U.S. Capitol Police, but they are not around if his wife is not around. Instead, the Capitol Police installed a security and camera system around the house.
Pelosi said the security system was not on because it was movement-based and would trigger even if he was in the house.
“If I would go downstairs, it would trigger the alarm. I would never use it in the house because of that,” he said.
Pelosi said DePape was dismayed to hear that Nancy was in Washington and told him, “'we’re going to have to wait for her. I’m gonna have to tie you up and we’re gonna wait for her."
"He had these cords in his hands, that’s what I assumed he was going to use,” Pelosi added. According to investigators who searched DePape's bags, he had brought backpacks containing zip ties.
“I realized it was a very serious situation. I tried to stay as calm as possible. The first thing I tried to do after some back and forth with him was to get up and try to get to the elevator,” Pelosi said, referring to an elevator outside of the third floor bedroom of the Pelosi residence.
“If I could get in the elevator there’s a phone in the elevator and I could close the door and he couldn’t get to me,” Pelosi said of his thought process.
Pelosi said that DePape physically blocked him from getting to the elevator. His escape plan thwarted, Pelosi stalled for time.
He sat on the bed and talked to DePape.
“He was saying that [Nancy] was the ‘leader of the pack,’ he had to take her out. He was gonna wait for her … He was gonna tie me up and wait for her,” Pelosi said.
DePape had previously espoused conspiracy views that Pelosi and other Democratic leaders stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.
Pelosi wandered into his bathroom, where he keeps his phone charging at night. He dialed 911 even though he said DePape was “right there” in the doorway to the bathroom.
“Could you be candid with the 911 operator?” Horn asked.
“Absolutely not. There’s this very large man threatening me, telling me he was gonna take me out. I had to try to convey to the 911 person that I was in trouble and to send someone,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said it was “very difficult” to convey to the operator how much danger he was in without upsetting DePape. DePape was in the background of the call telling Pelosi to tell the operator to refer to him as a “friend.”
When Pelosi hung up, DePape said he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.
“He said ‘I’m gonna tie you up and I’m gonna get some sleep,’” Pelosi recalled.
Pelosi said that he recommended they go downstairs.
“I’m thinking ‘I hope the police got my message.’ My only shot was going to be if we were downstairs when the police came,” Pelosi said. “God knows what he would have done if we were on the third floor and the police were banging on the door."
DePape followed Pelosi down two flights of stairs, hammer in hand. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, Pelosi said he could see the broken glass of the back patio window where DePape broke into the residence.
Suddenly, the police knocked at the door.
“[DePape] said ‘the police are here, it’s over for me, I’m going to have to take you out,’ things like that,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi opened the door, where two officers were waiting.
“When I opened the door, I thought ‘thank God the police are here.’ There’s this huge guy with a hammer in his hand. I didn’t know what was going to happen next,” Pelosi said. “I turned and tried to put my hand on the hammer. And he pushed me aside and whacked me on the head.”
Body camera footage shown on Thursday showed Pelosi being struck three times by the hammer.
Pelosi said the incident is “very traumatic” for him and his family. He said it took months to learn to walk again and he still gets recurrent headaches and dizziness, but he is close to being back to normal, though his head is still covered in lumps, and it took his hair nine months to fully grow back.
“I’ve given up the hats,” he said.
The defense declined to cross examine Pelosi.
Testimony will continue Tuesday and closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.
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