Accused Paul Pelosi attacker told police officer: 'There is evil in Washington'

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SAN FRANCISCO – A San Francisco police officer who witnessed the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, described in court Wednesday the struggle before Paul Pelosi was bludgeoned in the head in the couple's home.

"My partner said, 'Drop the weapon,'" San Francisco Police Officer Kyle Cagney said, recalling his encounter with suspect David DePape, 42. "He started to pull the hammer, Mr. Pelosi let go and the man lunged and hit Mr. Pelosi in the head."

Pelosi was also holding the hammer but let go, following police orders, Cagney said, as Paul Pelosi fell face first as "a pool of blood" began pouring underneath him after he was struck. On the body camera footage, one of the officers can be heard yelling, “Whoa! Oh, s**t!”

The detailed testimony, along with police body camera footage, the 911 call, and a police interview with DePape unveiled Wednesday, fleshed out details of the shocking assault and the charges against DePape.

DETAILS EMERGE IN PAUL PELOSI ATTACK: A break-in, conversation, 911 call, then violence

The hammer was also among about a dozen pieces of evidence prosecutors Sean Connolly and Phoebe Maffei introduced at the preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court.

Cagney, one of the officers who responded to the 911 call, described Paul Pelosi and DePape grappling with the hammer near the front door of the Pacific Heights home. The officer showed the court the hammer, pulled from an evidence bag.

When Connolly asked Cagney how hard DePape struck Pelosi, Cagney replied: “Very hard.” The police body camera recorded Cagney's partner telling DePape to "drop the hammer." DePape replied, "Uh, nope."

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy ruled there is sufficient evidence for DePape to go to trial. DePape will be arraigned on Dec. 28.

Murphy repeated a point from Maffei that DePape "came to the Pelosi house to wipe out and teach a lesson to the people that he believes are corrupt."

Murphy also repeated a quote Maffei cited from DePape: "I didn't come here to surrender. If you stop me, it's like stopping me from going after evil and you will take the punishment."

Adam Lipson, DePape's lawyer, told reporters after the hearing the ruling was expected and that "we will be fighting this case in court and not in the hallway."

When asked by reporters what kind of message the ruling against DePape send nationally, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said that "the evidence is clear what DePape intended to and his reasonings behind" them.

"I think what it demonstrates is the toxic political environment that we are living in at this time," Jenkins added. "Not only that we can’t engage in civil discourse with respect to our political differences, but that people believe it is okay to enact acts of violence against our political leadership for simply taking a position that is not in accordance with what that person believes, and that they can harm their family members as well."

Jenkins said that her office will be prepared for whatever defense DePape may choose.

"This was clearly a planned and calculated act," Jenkins said.

JAN. 6 HEARING: House committee to vote on criminal recommendations

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is joined by her husband Paul Pelosi on Wednesday as they attend her portrait unveiling ceremony in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is joined by her husband Paul Pelosi on Wednesday as they attend her portrait unveiling ceremony in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington.

Police officer recounts interview with DePape

Police Lt. Carla Hurley interviewed DePape at San Francisco General Hospital the day of the attack and he was recorded saying: "I'm not trying to get away with this. I know what I did."

Hurley testified to Maffei that DePape mentioned "other targets," including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks, and Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son.

At times, DePape, who wore an orange sweatshirt, orange pants, and a mask with his long brown hair slicked back, could be seen with his head down, especially as he heard himself talking in detail with Hurley in his recorded police interview prosecutors used as key evidence.

DePape is being held without bail at San Francisco County Jail and has been in custody since the Oct. 28 attack. Jenkins declined to comment about any other targets than the Pelosi's citing the ongoing investigation.

David DePape, right, records the nude wedding of Gypsy Taub outside City Hall on Dec. 19, 2013, in San Francisco.
David DePape, right, records the nude wedding of Gypsy Taub outside City Hall on Dec. 19, 2013, in San Francisco.

State charges include attempted murder and burglary

The state charges include attempted murder, elder abuse, and burglary for allegedly knocking Paul Pelosi, 82, unconscious during the morning break-in at the couple’s home. DePape, who pleaded not guilty to the state charges, faces 13 years to life in prison if convicted.

A previous judge at DePape's initial court appearance, Loretta "Lori" Giorgi, left the case after revealing she Speaker Pelosi's daughter, Christine, worked at the San Francisco city attorney's office in the 1990s. Christine Pelosi attended the hearing.

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DePape also faces federal charges of assault on a family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. He pleaded not guilty to those charges on Nov. 15 and awaits a status hearing Feb. 8.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and her husband Paul Pelosi attend the 45th Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: DCMC464
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and her husband Paul Pelosi attend the 45th Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: DCMC464

'There is evil in Washington'

DePape allegedly broke a glass door to get into the home after 2 a.m. looking for Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington, according to court records. DePape awakened Paul Pelosi, who was in bed asleep, to ask where his wife was, according to court records.

Hurley said he was on a “suicide mission” and had plans to target other California and federal politicians.

"He said that everyone is crazy and corrupt, we need to take them out," Hurley said.

DePape told Hurley he sought the speaker because she is "the second in line to the presidency" after Vice President Kamala Harris.

If the U.S. president and the vice president become unable to serve, the speaker of the U.S. House assumes the presidency.

"There is evil in Washington, what they did went so far beyond the campaign," DePape told Hurley, according to her testimony.

DePape told Pelosi's husband that he was not part of the plan, according to the recording. But DePape repeatedly said that if Paul Pelosi interfered that "I can take you out. I can take you out," Hurley testified.

DePape said in Hurley's audio interview played during the hearing that he was going to tie up Paul Pelosi and wait until the speaker came home. DePape said if Nancy Pelosi told him the "truth," he would let her go, but if she "lied," he was going to "break her kneecaps," according to Hurley.

PAUL PELOSI ATTENDS KENNEDY CENTER HONORS: Paul Pelosi attends Kennedy Center Honors in first public appearance since being attacked

DePape was watching when Paul Pelosi called 911 from Pelosi's bathroom, according to Hurley. Paul Pelosi suggested that the two go downstairs to the first floor where DePape broke in, Hurley said.

When DePape saw the lights of a police patrol car, Hurley testified that DePape told Paul Pelosi, "I'm not going to surrender, I am here to fight. If you try to stop me, you will take the punishment."

During the hearing, Connolly asked Cagney that if "this whole thing happened in a matter of seconds?”

"Yes," Cagney said, recalling he took down DePape and tossed the hammer aside.

Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious and suffered a skull fracture in the attack, along with arm and hand injuries, all of which required surgery. He is recovering and the hearing came the same day Paul Pelosi joined his wife at the Capitol for the unveiling of her official portrait.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Paul Pelosi attack: Video shown of assault on Nancy Pelosi's husband