The man alleged to have attacked Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, entered a not guilty plea Tuesday to all state charges during his initial appearance in San Francisco court.
David DePape, 42, is facing a litany of state charges, including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Monday. These charges are in addition to the federal charges DePape faces, which include assault and attempted kidnapping.
DePape waived his right to a hearing within 10 days at his arraignment Tuesday, and Judge Diane Northway set a hearing for November 4 in San Francisco Superior Court to set a date for the preliminary hearing and bail setting.
No cameras were allowed in court for the arraignment.
DePape’s attorney, Adam Lipson, said outside the courtroom, “There’s been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumor, simply based on the nature of this case. So I’m not going to add to all the speculation by talking about the facts of this case right now.”
“What I will say is that there’s been a lot of speculation regarding Mr. DePape’s vulnerability to misinformation and that’s certainly something we are going to look into, that we are going to delve into, as his defense team, but again it would be premature to talk about that at this time,” Lipson said.
Jenkins has said that based on DePape’s statements, it appears the attack was “politically motivated.”
“Yes, it appears as though this was, based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi, that this was politically motivated,” she said.
DePape, according to court documents, told police he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, calling her the “leader of the pack of lies” promoted by the Democrats.
Paul Pelosi ‘making steady progress’ in recovery
Paul Pelosi is “making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process,” Speaker Pelosi said in a statement Monday evening.
“Since the horrific attack on Paul early Friday, we have been deluged with thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes. We are most grateful,” the statement said.
Following the attack, Paul Pelosi underwent “successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” according to a previous press release from Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Members of the Pelosi family are expected to be able to hear audio from the 911 call Paul Pelosi placed to police and see body camera footage of officers who responded to his house the night he was attacked, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Criminal complaint details chilling attack
The court filing related to the federal charges against DePape revealed the most detailed account yet of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call while the incident was unfolding.
“Pelosi stated words to the effect of there is a male in the home and that the male is going to wait for Pelosi’s wife. Pelosi further conveyed that he does not know who the male is. The male said his name is David,” an FBI agent said in a sworn affidavit that was unsealed Monday.
Paul Pelosi called 911 at 2:23 a.m. PT on Friday, and police arrived at his house eight minutes later, according to the affidavit unsealed Monday.
“When the door was opened, Pelosi and DePape were both holding a hammer with one hand and DePape had his other hand holding onto Pelosi’s forearm,” the affidavit said. “Pelosi greeted the officers. The officers asked them what was going on. DePape responded that everything was good. Officers then asked Pelosi and DePape to drop the hammer.”
At that moment, DePape allegedly pulled the hammer away and swung it, striking Paul Pelosi in the head. Pelosi “appeared to be unconscious on the ground” after the blow, the affidavit said.
“DePape was prepared to detain and injure Speaker Pelosi when he entered the Pelosi residence in the early morning of October 28, 2022,” the FBI agent said in the affidavit. “DePape had zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him that morning.”
CNN previously reported that DePape confronted Pelosi and asked where his wife was, shouting, “Where is Nancy?” The speaker was not home at the time of the attack.
According to the affidavit, “DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break ‘her kneecaps.’”
“DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth,’” the FBI affidavit said.
‘There’s no place for it in this country’
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas condemned the “horrific, violent attack,” during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday.
“There’s no place for it in this country,” Mayorkas said in his first remarks since the attack last week, adding that it was difficult to label the incident “domestic terrorism” because of the legal implications of the term.
On the same day that Pelosi was attacked, federal authorities warned in a joint assessment that domestic violent extremists pose a heightened threat to the 2022 midterm elections.
Asked if he was worried about copycat attacks, Mayorkas said, domestic violent extremism is “one of the greatest terrorism-related” threats to the US, noting that DHS tracks the threat environment and pushes information out to state and local law enforcement authorities, so they are alert to the threat.
Meanwhile, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Tuesday the agency has “engaged in a review” of the incident and said the current political climate calls for more resources for the physical safety of members of Congress.
“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for Members of Congress,” Manger said in a written statement.
“This plan would include an emphasis on adding redundancies to the measures that are already in place for Congressional leadership. Hopefully you can understand that we cannot disclose the details about these improvements because our country cannot afford to make it easier for any potential bad actors,” he added.
Manger also said the Capitol Police has “worked diligently to investigate reported threats, improve intelligence collection and analysis, and strengthen our partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide security for Members when they are traveling outside Washington, DC.”
California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday that lawmakers won’t be any safer “until we call out what is the root cause of this political violence.”
“The head of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel and also Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, expressed sadness for Paul Pelosi. But then went onto say ‘it’s really a product of crime – that’s the Democrats fault.’”
“That’s like saying Lee Harvey Oswald was connected with crime in Dallas or John Wilkes Booth was the result of a crime problem at Ford’s Theater. Not only is it ridiculous, it is part of the problem of dismissing what is causing this violence,” Lofgren said.
Varied responses from the right
Some popular Republican figures appeared to make light of the attack, including Kari Lake, the GOP nominee in Arizona’s gubernatorial race.
“It is not impossible to protect our kids at school. They act like it is. Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in DC — apparently, her house doesn’t have a lot of protection,” Lake said to laughter at a Scottsdale campaign.
Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, shared an image on social media of a hammer and a pair of underwear with the words “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready.”
Still, several prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have condemned the attack, though some others, including former President Donald Trump, have offered a more tepid response.
This story has been updated with additional information Tuesday.
CNN’s Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, Zachary Cohen, Marshall Cohen and Evan Perez contributed to this report.