- The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi told investigators the incident had been “pretty amicable” until he hit him with a hammer.
- David DePape, 42, appeared in a San Francisco courtroom for a hearing to determine if the case against him will go to trial.
- The suspect, a Canadian citizen, said he had told Paul Pelosi that he had no intention of surrendering.
The man accused of attacking the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told investigators the incident had been “pretty amicable” until he hit the 82-year-old with a hammer, a court heard on Wednesday.
David DePape, 42, appeared in a San Francisco courtroom for a hearing to determine if the case against him will go to trial.
The former public nudity activist has denied attempted murder and other charges in connection with a break-in in October, during which he had intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, he told police.
Instead, he found her 82-year-old husband, Paul, whom he is alleged to have bludgeoned with a hammer.
Prosecutors played Judge Stephen Murphy parts of an interview DePape gave to investigators from hospital.
The suspect, a Canadian citizen, said he had told Paul Pelosi that he had no intention of surrendering, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
DePape said on the recording:
I had threatened him a couple of times but for the most part it was pretty amicable.
But when he lunged at Pelosi, he did so with “full force,” the Chronicle said.
The US Justice Department has said DePape intended to tie up Nancy Pelosi, one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, and break her kneecaps with a hammer if she did not confess to Democratic “lies”.
DePape had tape, rope, zip ties and other materials with him, the Justice Department said.
Nancy Pelosi – who is second in line to the US presidency after the vice president – was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack.
Paul Pelosi had managed to call police while his assailant was in the house.
Officers were able to subdue the attacker, but not before he had fractured Paul Pelosi’s skull, knocking him unconscious.
Prosecutors on Wednesday showed body camera footage from one of the officers, the Chronicle reported.
DePape could be heard saying “Uh, nope,” after he was ordered to drop the hammer before the attack and subsequent tussle.
“A sound that appeared to be Pelosi’s snoring was heard loudly at the end of the video,” the Chronicle reported.
The assault and attempted kidnapping came just days before the high-stakes midterm elections, with America’s febrile political atmosphere being regularly fed by outlandish conspiracy theories from national figures.
If the state trial goes ahead, and if he is convicted, DePape would face 13 years to life in prison, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has previously said.
A separate federal case against DePape is ongoing. He has denied charges of kidnap and assault levied there.
Paul Pelosi spent almost a week in hospital after the attack, where he underwent surgery.
Nancy Pelosi later said he was facing “a long recovery process”.