Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock Paul Pelosi
The suspect, a right-wing conspiracy theorist, allegedly broke into the Pelosis' Bay Area home in search of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington, D.C. at the time. Authorities responding to a 911 call from the home say they arrived around 2:30 a.m. Friday to find Paul and DePape struggling over a hammer. According to police reports, DePape gained control of the tool and assaulted Paul with it in front of the officers before being tackled and taken into custody.
Paul, 82, suffered a fractured skull and other serious injuries and has a "long recovery ahead," according to the House speaker. He successfully underwent surgery to repair his skull on the day of the attack.
On Monday, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins formally charged the suspect with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment, and threatening the life or serious bodily harm to a public official.
"DePape will be held accountable for his violent and depraved attack, and we will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law," Jenkins tweeted after the charges were announced. "When citizens of our city suffer as victims of crime, we will hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and work to deliver justice for all."
He was also charged with two federal felonies Monday: assaulting an immediate family member of a federal official and attempting to kidnap a federal official. If convicted in both cases, he faces decades in prison.
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In a criminal complaint released by the Department of Justice on Monday, a special agent with the FBI laid out justification for the federal charges against DePape.
The complaint suggests that DePape entered the home with plans to hold the House speaker hostage, break her kneecaps if she did not cooperate, and use her to set an example to other Democratic lawmakers. The evidence comes from a taped interview with the suspect himself, in which he described his plans and actions to San Francisco police officers.
"In the course of the interview, DePape articulated he viewed Nancy as the 'leader of the pack' of lies told by the Democratic Party," the complaint reads. "DePape also later 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." The complaint also claims he wanted to use Nancy, 82, to lure another unnamed person.
One thing the intruder seemingly didn't consider was whether Nancy, who spends much of her time working in Washington, D.C., would be home. She wasn't, foiling his supposed plan and allegedly sparking chaos as he scrambled to figure out what to do about her husband, Paul, also 82.
Armed with twist ties, rope, tape and the hammer reportedly used to break through the home's sliding glass door, DePape allegedly tried restraining Paul so that they could wait for Nancy to return — but Paul soon got away to the bathroom with a phone to dial 911.
"DePape explained that he did not leave after [Paul's] call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender," the complaint reads. He allegedly told officers that he was willing to go "through" Paul if needed.
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On Friday, Nancy released a statement that read, "Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop." She traveled to San Francisco to be with her husband after news of his injuries broke.