Police body-camera video showing the October attack on the husband of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., along with audio of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call, was made public Friday, revealing footage of the moment he was bludgeoned by a hammer-wielding intruder looking for his wife.

Judge Stephen M. Murphy of the San Francisco Superior Court ordered the release of the evidence, including portions of a police interview with the suspect, David DePape, after The Washington Post and other news organizations pressed for copies.

Pelosi Husband Attacked

David DePape is shown in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 13, 2013. Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP file

The tapes illuminate a harrowing sequence: Pelosi alerting a 911 dispatcher of an armed man who was feet away, listening to the call and interjecting comments; DePape beating Pelosi in plain view of the officers; and DePape, after his arrest, describing his plans to kidnap the then-House Speaker.

A clip of the assault at the Pelosi home in San Francisco before dawn on Oct. 28 was shown in court last month but, until now, had been otherwise shielded from view.

Wild rumors, amplified by conservative activists and bloggers, had surged after the 2 a.m. attack 11 days before the 2022 midterm elections, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office argued that unsealing video and audio could fuel more misinformation while risking DePape’s right to a fair trial. Someone, for instance, could edit the clips to manipulate audiences on social media.

But Judge Murphy ruled that footage playing in a public courtroom should be handed to the media.


“These are open facts. They are known facts,” said Thomas Burke, a lawyer representing the coalition of news organizations that pushed for access to the evidence, including The Post. “The public’s right of access should not be dependent on conspiracy theories.”

The internet gossip had spread rapidly to Capitol Hill, where Republican officials groundlessly cast doubt on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi’s account of the violence and referenced baseless homophobic conspiracy theories.

Prosecutors, however, have said that what happened was clear – and that DePape himself outlines his actions in tapes like those just publicly released.

“The most stark evidence of planning and motive, in this case, were the statements of the defendant himself,” San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei said at the December hearing.

In the now-public interview with police, DePape told an investigator: “I’m not trying to get away with this. I know exactly what I did.”

Nancy Pelosi declined to comment on the evidence’s release on Friday, and one day earlier she told reporters on Capitol Hill that she doesn’t know whether she will watch the video.


“It would be a very hard thing to see an assault on my husband’s life,” she said. “But I don’t know.”

DePape’s public defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police said the episode began when DePape, who was 42 at the time, broke through a back door of the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco’s upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Pelosi Husband Attacked

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband, Paul Pelosi, arrive at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner, on Dec. 7, 2019, in Washington. A California judge on Wednesday ordered the release of evidence against David DePape, who was charged in last year’s attack on Paul Pelosi. A coalition of news organizations, including The Associated Press, had filed a court motion to access the evidence. Kevin Wolf/Associated Press file

He believed Nancy Pelosi was “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party,” DePape told police in the interview, and he planned to hold her hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied to him to “show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”

But Nancy Pelosi was in Washington. It was her husband who woke to the intruder carrying a hammer, zip ties, rope, and a roll of tape. Paul Pelosi talked to DePape before managing to go to the bathroom and call 911, authorities said.

He appeared to choose his words carefully.


“Okay, well, I got a problem, but he thinks everything is good,” Pelosi told the dispatcher, according to a recording played at a December hearing.

Eventually, both men went downstairs. When police arrived, Pelosi opened the door.

The shaky body-camera footage shows Pelosi and DePape standing in the entrance, each with a hand on the hammer.

“Drop the hammer,” one officer says.

“Um, nope,” DePape responds before striking Pelosi.

Pelosi fell to the ground, the video shows. Blood seeped onto the floor around his head as officers tackled DePape.


Pelosi, who was hospitalized with a fractured skull and injuries to his right arm and hands, is expected to make a full recovery. DePape has pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges that include attempted murder.

The attack and targeting of the House speaker reinvigorated concerns about the nation’s deeply polarized political culture. The congresswoman has long been demonized by Republicans, and rioters yelled that they were searching for her while rushing the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Groundless conspiracy theories appeared to have motivated DePape, who had published online rants full of racist and antisemitic themes. He’d compiled a list of other targets, he told investigators, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

“It’s an endless f—ing crime spree,” DePape said in the interview with Sgt. Carla Hurley of the San Francisco police shortly after getting arrested.

The Washington Post’s Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.

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