SAN FRANCISCO - The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi in his home early last Friday morning entered "not guilty" pleas in court on Tuesday.
David DePape appeared in court for the first time facing these charges, and his attorney says they will be looking at the role social media played leading up to the events early Friday morning.
Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom when 42-year-old DePape was escorted in, wearing orange jail clothes, his arm in sling, a dislocated shoulder his attorney says happened when he was taken into custody. DePape entered not guilty pleas to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other felony charges.
"There's also been a lot of speculation regarding Mr. DePape's vulnerability to, to misinformation and that's certainly something that were going to look into, that we're going to delve into as his defense team," said Adam Lipson from San Francisco's Public Defenders Office. He later said he was pleased that Paul Pelosi was improving and expected to make a full recovery, adding he urged the public "not to pass judgment on what he called a complicated situation."
In court papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors detailed the attack in stark terms as part of their bid to keep DePape behind bars. Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood, the filing said. Prosecutors also say DePape had other targets, including several prominent state and federal politicians and their family members, and even a local professor. According to Associated Press, DePape told police he was on a "suicide mission."
The district attorney has said that there has been a lot of misinformation already spreading about this case and once again emphasized that this was a targeted attack, apparently with a political motivation. Her office served DePape with a protective order, to stop any attempt he may make to reach out to the Pelosi family.
"From experience, I can say that there's always more to the story than what is initially reported," Lipson said, noting "there are a lot of rumors and speculation about this incident that will need to be sorted out in court once we review the evidence."
"Mr. DePape is entitled to a vigorous legal defense, and we intend to give him one," he added.
The Pelosi family, apparently also tried to view the proceedings using Zoom, but the judge said those plans did not reach her desk in time.
This coming Friday, DePape will be back in court to set a date for his pre-trial hearing, prosecutors say that pre-trial hearing could take five hours, and this coming Friday prosecutors will push their case to deny his release before trial. "Absolutely I consider him to be dangerous, said San Francisco District Attorney, Brooke Jenkins. "Not only is this someone who engaged in a pre-planned attack on the Speaker and her home, but someone who was willing to enact violence that was politically motivated and so, yes, we certainly view him as a public safety risk to the city of San Francisco; certainly to the Speaker as time goes forward, and so that is why we filed that motion to detain him without bail."
Federal authorities also have a hold on DePape. Even if he were to be released from San Francisco, he would be immediately turned over to federal authorities. San Francisco's district attorney says she is working closely with the U.S. Attorney, on how the state and federal prosecutions will proceed. She said due to the way the law works, the local cases are proceeding before the federal cases. We checked with the Department of Justice and no federal court dates have been announced at this time.
Associated Press contributed to this story.