Video shows struggle for hammer during Pelosi attack
Video released publicly Friday shows the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fighting with his assailant for control of a hammer moments before he was struck during a brutal attack in the couple’s San Francisco home last year.
The body-camera footage shows suspect David DePape wrest the tool from Paul Pelosi, 82, and lunge toward him with the hammer over his head. The blow to Pelosi occurs out of the camera’s view and the officers — one of them cursing — rush into the house and jump on DePape.
Pelosi, apparently unconscious, can be seen lying face down on the floor in his pajama top and underwear. Officials later said he woke up in a pool of his own blood.
The release comes after a coalition of news agencies, including The Associated Press, sought access to the evidence that prosecutors played in open court last month. The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office had refused to make the exhibits available to journalists.
A state court judge Wednesday ruled there was no reason to keep the video secret.
The evidence includes portions of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call on Oct. 28, as well as video from Capitol police surveillance cameras, a body camera worn by one of the two police officers who arrived first at the house and a nearly 18-minute audio recording from DePape’s interview with police.
The Capitol Police video shows DePape walk up to a glass-panel door shortly after 2 a.m., leave and then return wearing a large backpack and carrying two other bags. He set the items down and pulled out a hammer, pausing to put on gloves, and used it to smash the door glass so he could step through an opening.
DePape has pleaded not guilty in ongoing state and federal cases. He is being jailed without bail. He faces charges including attempted murder, elder abuse, and assaulting an immediate family member of a federal official.
San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Adam Lipson, who represents DePape, called the video’s release a “terrible mistake” in a statement Friday.
“The footage is inflammatory and could feed unfounded theories about this case, and we are extremely concerned about Mr. DePape’s ability to get a fair trial,” Lipson said.
Members of Congress have faced a sharp rise in threats in the two years since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
During the Jan. 6 attack, rioters chanted menacingly for the speaker as they rampaged through the halls trying to halt certification of Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the presidential election. One man was convicted this week of eight criminal counts after he put his feet on a desk in Pelosi’s office and left a note to her punctuated with a sexist expletive.
Paul Pelosi was asleep at the couple’s home when DePape — who was 42 at the time, roughly half Pelosi’s age — allegedly broke in. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time and under the protection of her security detail, which does not extend to family members.
Her husband later underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. He has since appeared in public wearing a hat and a glove to cover his wounds.
Speaking at the U.S. Capitol after the release, Nancy Pelosi said she had not watched or listened to any of it.
“I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in. And I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband,” she said.
Pelosi said her husband “is making progress, but it will take more time.”