Federal trial begins for man charged with attacking Paul Pelosi with hammer

The federal trial began on Thursday for the man accused in the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

David DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosis' San Francisco home and using a hammer to attack Paul Pelosi in October 2022. He has pleaded not guilty to attempting to kidnap a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.

In opening statements, the prosecutor said that DePape wanted to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and told her husband that "you will take the punishment instead."

The jury was also shown video of DePape striking Pelosi which was recorded on the body cameras of San Francisco police officers. 

The defense said that DePape had no intention of harming Paul Pelosi and that he acted out of the belief that he was saving children from harm — an idea that he latched onto after listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos. 

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley had previously rejected the defense request to move the trial from San Francisco to the city of Eureka. 

The judge told prosecutors that they bear the "heavy burden" of proving that DePape intended to kidnap the former speaker when he broke into her home, and that he assaulted Paul Pelosi with the intent to interfere with the lawmaker’s official duties or retaliate against her, Los Angeles Times reported.

KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza offered an opinion after the first day of the trial, explaining, "There is no insanity defense in this case, and the jury doesn’t need to determine a motive." 

He said, "He hurt somebody badly! His thinking was clearly to affect Nancy Pelosi and her job, so she would do her job differently or what he wanted her to do." 

As for the defense's case, Cardoza admitted, "This is a tough case, especially because of video evidence of him in the house,"Striking Paul Pelosi, an 81-year-old man in the head! People don’t like that sort of thing. He injured Pelosi pretty badly, and he’s going to pay for that."

Next week, Paul Pelosi is expected to testify.

DePape is a Canadian who wound up espousing right-wing conspiracy theories. He could face deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement if convicted. 

He faces up to a combined 50 years in prison if convicted. He’s pleaded not guilty to charges, including those brought by the state. 

As for the state's case against DePape, a separate trial date will be set on November 29th, 2023. 

KTVU's Alice Wertz contributed to this report. 


Paul Pelosi video shows moment of brutal hammer attack

Video shows a home intruder attack Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer, leaving the 82-year-old with a fractured skull.