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Summer trial possible in state case against Paul Pelosi attack suspect

A serious backlog in the courts because of the Covid pandemic presents challenges to setting a trial date for David DePape.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — David DePape, the suspect in the attack of the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is for now no closer to a trial on state charges.

DePape’s lawyer, public defender Adam Lipson, appeared briefly before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Brendan P. Conroy on Thursday to request a hearing to set a trial date. In a process that didn’t last more than a few minutes, Lipson and the prosecution settled on April 12. DePape did not appear.

Almost as soon as the hearing started it was over and Lipson — as well as the sizeable crowd of media occupying the first couple rows of the gallery — made their way to the hall outside, much to the apparent confusion of others present in the room that day for their own hearings.

There, Lipson told reporters that, even if a date were to be set on April 12, the trial still would not begin for at least another 60 days. That means it could be summer before DePape faces a jury at the earliest. But beside that, there was much more to do, he said.

“We’re not ready for trial yet,” said Lipson, adding that they were still receiving discovery — a process that, coupled with the ongoing federal criminal case against DePape, could last a while.

DePape’s coming trial is also caught in the current backlog that has plagued courtrooms since the Covid pandemic brought everything to a halt. The courts will still have to deal with that problem, Lipson said.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Lipson told reporters before excusing himself to attend the next of six additional hearings he had scheduled for the day.

DePape, 43, stands accused of violently attacking 82-year-old Paul Pelosi with a hammer early in the morning of Oct. 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."

On Jan. 28, DePape made a surprise five-minute phone call to KTVU Channel 2, the Fox affiliate in San Francisco. DePape told reporter Amber Lee he had attacked Pelosi because people’s liberty was at stake. And then he apologized for not completing the task.

"I want to apologize to everyone,” DePape said. “I messed up. What I did was really bad. I'm so sorry I didn't get more of them. It's my own fault. No one else is to blame. I should have come better prepared.”

Categories:Criminal, National

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