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Paul Pelosi suspect charged with attempting to kidnap House speaker and attempted murder


By Zachary Cohen, Marshall Cohen and Evan Perez, CNN

Paul Pelosi “is making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Monday, following the announcement of state and federal charges against the man accused of attacking him.

“Since the horrific attack on Paul early Friday, we have been deluged with thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes,” the statement said. “Our family thanks everyone for their kindness.”

David DePape, 42, has been charged with a litany of crimes, including assault, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping, following last week’s break-in at the couple’s San Francisco home, the US attorney’s office and San Francisco district attorney announced on Monday.

He was charged with one count of “attempted kidnapping of a US official,” according to the US attorney’s office for the Northern District of California. That charge relates to Nancy Pelosi, who DePape told police he planned to “hold hostage,” according to an FBI affidavit also unsealed on Monday.

The attempted kidnapping charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

DePape also was charged with one count of assault of an immediate family member of a US official with the intent to retaliate against the official. That charge relates to a crime allegedly committed against Paul Pelosi and carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The federal charges against DePape are in addition to state charges, which the San Francisco district attorney said later Monday include “attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, as well as threats to a public official and their family.”

Based on current state charges, DePape is facing 13 years to life in prison, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said. She said DePape is expected in court for his arraignment Tuesday.

Jenkins said at her news conference that the Pelosi attack was “politically motivated”.

“Yes, it appears as though this was, based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi, that this was politically motivated,” Jenkins said.

CNN reported earlier Monday that Paul Pelosi was interviewed this weekend at the hospital by investigators and was able to provide details of the attack, according to two law enforcement sources and a source familiar with the matter.

Among those conducting the interview were FBI and local law enforcement investigators.

Most detailed account yet of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call revealed in court filing

The court filing related to the federal charges against DePape reveal the most detailed account yet of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call while the incident was unfolding.

“Pelosi stated words to the effect of there is a male in the home and that the male is going to wait for Pelosi’s wife. Pelosi further conveyed that he does not know who the male is. The male said his name is David,” an FBI agent said in a sworn affidavit that was unsealed Monday.

Paul Pelosi called 911 at 2:23 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, and police arrived at his house eight minutes later, according to the affidavit unsealed Monday.

“When the door was opened, Pelosi and DePape were both holding a hammer with one hand and DePape had his other hand holding onto Pelosi’s forearm,” the affidavit said. “Pelosi greeted the officers. The officers asked them what was going on. DePape responded that everything was good. Officers then asked Pelosi and DePape to drop the hammer.”

At that moment, DePape allegedly pulled the hammer away and swung it, striking Paul Pelosi in the head. Pelosi “appeared to be unconscious on the ground” after the blow, the affidavit said.

Paul Pelosi was later taken to the hospital and underwent a “successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” according to a previous press release from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. They said they expect Paul Pelosi to make a full recovery.

A source familiar with the matter provided CNN with more information about the attack on Paul Pelosi and the extent of his injuries in the wake of the federal criminal complaint.

The source said that DePape struck Pelosi twice in the head. Pelosi needed surgery for a skull fracture and also had serious injuries to his hands and right arm, which led to his shirt being cut off at the hospital to treat his arm, the source said.

Paul Pelosi was sleeping in boxer shorts and a pajama top in the third-floor bedroom of his San Francisco house, the source said, when authorities allege that DePape broke in.

CNN has previously reported that Pelosi managed to keep the line open with 911, the dispatcher could hear a conversation in the background, and that Pelosi was talking in code to help the authorities understand what was happening.

“DePape was prepared to detain and injure Speaker Pelosi when he entered the Pelosi residence in the early morning of October 28, 2022,” the FBI agent said in the affidavit. “DePape had zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him that morning.”

DePape has not yet had any court appearances related to the attack.

According to the criminal complaint filed in court, DePape confessed in an interview with local police that he intended to find the House speaker and hold her hostage.

The FBI affidavit filed with the complaint said: “DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break ‘her kneecaps.'”

“DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth,'” the FBI affidavit said.

The affidavit further stated DePape told police that Nancy Pelosi was the “leader of the pack” of lies promoted by the Democratic Party. DePape told police that other members of Congress would see that there are consequences to their actions when Pelosi, with broken kneecaps, would get “wheeled into” the House chamber, according to the affidavit.

The interview was conducted by the San Francisco Police Department on Friday, the day of the attack, according to court filings. DePape was read his Miranda rights before he spoke with the police and confessed to his intentions to kidnap the top-ranking House Democrat, according to the filings.

FBI affidavit further debunks conspiracy promoted by Elon Musk

The federal charges unsealed Monday also further debunk a conspiracy theory about the Pelosi attack that was previously shared on Twitter by its billionaire owner Elon Musk.

The conspiracy theory claimed, among other things, that Paul Pelosi knew his attacker. Musk tweeted a link to an article promoting the theory on Sunday, though he later deleted it.

The FBI affidavit, unsealed Monday alongside the federal charges, says Pelosi told a 911 dispatcher during his call that “he does not know who the male is” that invaded his home.

Furthermore, the affidavit said San Francisco Police Department officers interviewed Pelosi in the ambulance on the way to hospital, and he said, “He had never seen (David) DePape before.”

Earlier on Monday, San Francisco Police Department chief William Scott told CNN’s Ana Cabrera that Paul Pelosi didn’t know the suspect. The police chief said the wave of conspiracies about the case were “baseless” and “damaging” to the ongoing investigation.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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