SAN FRANCISCO — Paul Pelosi publicly recounted and recalled for the first time Monday what happened the night he was attacked by a man in the San Francisco home he shares with former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , how shocking it was at the time to see a man standing at his bedroom door as the man hit him over the head with a hammer.
It was a frightening moment as Pelosi walked past defendant David DePape for the first time since the October 28 attack.
Pelosi recounted the moments that led to DePape striking him multiple times in the head, arm and hand with a steel hammer.
The jury watched closely as Pelosi described waking up with a hammer and zip ties in his hand and the defendant a few feet away in his upstairs bedroom. He also recalled the series of threats he said DePape made toward his wife, Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi.
“He was looking for her and kept saying he wanted to take her,” Pelosi told the jury.
Pelosi described in detail how he tried to call 911 in the bathroom while DePape stood in the doorway. He says shortly after DePape took his cell phone and followed him down two flights of stairs.
“I think to myself, I hope the police got my message,” Pelosi told the jury.
Pelosi also described the serious injuries he suffered from his skull fracture, 12 stitches to the back of his arm and a reconstructed hand. He says he has had no hair for six to eight months and still has bumps on his head from the attack.
“I truly believe that people will feel the way he feels, sit in his chair and feel that fear the way he felt it,” said Adam Gasner, a federal criminal defense attorney.
Gasner explains that the testimony and the significant amount of evidence against DePape complicates the defense strategy.
“It says a lot about the negotiations that took place behind the scenes that there was no offer that DePape or his lawyers thought was acceptable,” Gasner said.
The potential jury pool for David DePape discusses politics and prejudiceThe jury for David DePape, the man charged with attacking Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home last year, discusses politics, prejudice and QAnon.
Before that trial began, the government expressed concerns to the judge that people, possibly one of DePape’s children, were distributing fliers containing misinformation about the case. The judge agreed with concerns that distributing leaflets could influence jury members and stressed that it was illegal. Some of the false theories suggested that the surveillance video had been doctored.
On Monday, the FBI special agent who edited the footage shown in court testified about its accuracy.
“The reality is that these jurors were specifically instructed not to read any press articles and certainly not to read any pamphlets that have no basis or fact,” Gasner said. “If they see this, they should tell the judge.”
Despite audio evidence that DePape admitted his intent to harm Nancy Pelosi, the defense argued in opening arguments that DePape’s overall plan had nothing to do with the former House Speaker and her official duties as a member of Congress.
“I think they’re trying to narrow it down,” Gasner said. “It could be a reach, the jury could have difficulty deciding whether this is a crime involving them or whether this is a crime involving solely Mr. DePape and Paul Pelosi. “
The government called a handful of witnesses from the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI to discuss evidence found at the crime scene and on DePape’s laptop. Prosecutors revealed that DePape had stored on his computer a series of images from the Internet showing Pelosi’s home vandalized with pig’s blood and a person defecating on her property.
The general counsel for the people search engine Spokeo also testified about an account registered to David DePape that showed specific searches about Nancy Pelosi in the lead-up to the attack.
Pelosi talks about her husband and how she found out about the attackNancy Pelosi revealed how she received the news that her husband Paul had been attacked by David DePape at the family home in San Francisco.
According to Gasner, the federal insanity defense requires DePape to prove by clear and convincing evidence that at the time he committed the attack on Mr. Pelosi, DePape was incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of it due to a serious mental illness or defect the wrongfulness of his actions.
Legal analysts tell ABC7 News that DePape failed to meet the requirements of a federal insanity defense, in part because DePape told police he knew exactly what he had done at the time of the attack and made it clear he would do it again would do.
The government played a clip of a recorded phone call DePape had with a local news reporter in which he showed no remorse for the attack and said: “The tree of freedom needs to be watered. I would like to apologize to everyone. What I did was really bad. I’m really sorry I didn’t get more of this.
Unreleased surveillance footage revealed how DePape got from his home in Richmond to San Francisco, starting at the El Cerrito BART station and making two stops at the MacArthur and Civic Center Plaza stations. MUNI cameras then filmed DePape boarding a bus at Van Ness Avenue and McAllister, getting off at North Point before arriving at the Pelosi residence.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempted kidnapping and assault.
The trial continues on Tuesday.