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Feds Say Suspect Behind Paul Pelosi Hammer Attack Wanted to Break Nancy Pelosi’s Kneecaps So She’d Have to Be Wheeled into Congress

Nancy Pelosi, and Paul Pelosi.

Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi. 

The man who used a hammer to fracture 82-year-old Paul Pelosi’s skull in his San Francisco home last Friday admitted he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hostage and break her kneecaps if the House Speaker lied to him, the Department of Justice alleges in a new federal criminal case.

David DePape, 42, is charged federally with assaulting an immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Authorities say DePape referred to his target as “Nancy” at various times. Nancy Pelosi was not at home at the time of the attack.

The affidavit says that DePape, a stranger to the Pelosi family, brought his own hammer with him, along with zip ties, tape, and rope:

I submit that there is probable cause to believe that DEPAPE violated the following: Title 18 U.S.C. §§ 115(a)(1)(A) by assaulting Paul Pelosi, an immediate family member of a United States official, to wit, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, with intent to retaliate against such official on account of the performance of official duties; and Title 18 U.S.C. § 1201(d) by attempting to seize or kidnap a United States official, to wit, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. In summary, and as set out in more detail below, the facts of the investigation to date reveal that DEPAPE was prepared to detain and injure Speaker Pelosi when he entered the Pelosi residence in the early morning of October 28, 2022. DEPAPE had zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him that morning. The evidence further shows that DEPAPE assaulted Mr. Pelosi with DEPAPE’s own hammer.

The affidavit says that DePape entered the residence through a sliding glass door by using the hammer he brought with him. After being Mirandized, he allegedly admitted to San Francisco Police that he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied to him. He apparently believed that she would lie, but claimed he would let her go if she told him the “truth.” In addition, DePape allegedly regarded Pelosi as the “‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic party.”

The suspect explained that if he were to kneecap Pelosi she would have to be wheeled into Congress, showing her fellow Members of Congress that there were consequences, the documents continued.

After Paul Pelosi managed to call 911 while inside a bathroom at the residence, the feds allege, DePape decided he would not surrender and compared his actions to those of the Founding Fathers in “fighting against tyranny.”

“While talking with each other, Pelosi went into a bathroom, where Pelosi grabbed a phone to call 9-1-1. DEPAPE stated he felt like Pelosi’s actions compelled him to respond,” the affidavit went on. “DEPAPE remembered thinking that there was no way the police were going to forget about the phone call. DEPAPE explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender. DEPAPE reiterated this sentiment elsewhere in the interview.”

According to the affidavit, the hammer attack occurred as police were closing in on DePape.

“DEPAPE stated that they went downstairs to the front door. The police arrived and knocked on the door, and Pelosi ran over and opened it. Pelosi grabbed onto DEPAPE’s hammer, which was in DEPAPE’s hand. At this point in the interview, DEPAPE repeated that DEPAPE did not plan to surrender and that he would go ‘through’ Pelosi,” the documents said. “DEPAPE stated that he pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and swung the hammer towards Pelosi. DEPAPE explained that Pelosi’s actions resulted in Pelosi ‘taking the punishment instead.'”

The DOJ said DePape has been living for the last two years in a garage at a residence in Richmond, California.

DePape already faces state charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and burglary.

[Image via Paul Morigi/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.