A federal officer has laid out chilling new details of the investigation into a violent break-in Friday at the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul Pelosi, who was severely injured in the attack.
In a sworn affidavit with the U.S. District Court of Northern California, FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor — a domestic terrorism specialist assigned to the bureau’s San Francisco Field Office — described how the alleged assailant, 42-year-old Berkeley man David DePape, told police that he planned to take Speaker Pelosi hostage, interrogate her, and possibly break her kneecaps.
The Speaker was not at home at the time of the invasion.
The criminal complaint states that DePape broke through a rear glass door of the residence with a hammer that he later used to beat Paul Pelosi. He brought zip ties, tape, rope and gloves, as well.
According to an interview DePape gave to the San Francisco Police Department after his arrest last Friday, once he had Speaker Pelosi restrained, he was going to “talk to her.” If she told the “truth,” he was would release her, but if she “lied,” he would break “her kneecaps.” DePape described Speaker Pelosi as “‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party,” the document notes.
DePape’s own account contradicts several right-wing conspiracy theories intended to deflect blame for his extremist ideology. One such baseless rumor, amplified on Twitter by Elon Musk, was that Paul Pelosi had hired DePape as a sex worker and gotten into an argument with him that turned physical. Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk on his podcast today suggested that “some amazing patriot” should bail out “gay schizophrenic nudist” DePape and ask for his version of events, hinting that the two men might have some illicit connection. But DePape is being held without bail, and San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins said there is no indication that he and Pelosi knew each other previously.
In his interview, DePape also “explained that by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then
have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress
there were consequences to actions.”
He further discussed a plan to use the speaker as a hostage to “lure another individual” to him. DePape brought a journal with him to the scene of the crime, and law enforcement have since confirmed that he had “a list of people he wanted to target.”
Paul Pelosi told officers that DePape, after entering the house and learning that the speaker wasn’t home, decided to wait for her to return, even though Pelosi had said she was away for several days. DePape confessed to police that he wanted to tie up Pelosi in order to sleep, and took out the twist ties to do so, but never did. Pelosi dialed 911 shortly after.
DePape told authorities that he didn’t flee after the emergency call was placed “because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender.”
As officers arrived, DePape said, Pelosi opened the door and began to struggle with him over his hammer, at which point DePape wrested it loose and struck him with it. He referred to this as the Speaker’s husband “taking the punishment instead.”
Special Agent Minor’s affidavit concluded that there is probable cause to believe that DePape intentionally assaulted Paul Pelosi and attempted to kidnap Speaker Pelosi. Today, prosecutors filed those two charges in federal court.
“DePape is charged with one count of assault of an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison,” reads a press release from the Department of Justice. “DePape is also charged with one count of attempted kidnapping of a United States official on account of the performance of official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.”