Video of Paul Pelosi attack released, showing suspect swinging a hammer at him
Video and audio of the violent October attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was released to the public Friday.
It was released after San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Murphy ruled there was no reason to keep the footage secret, especially after prosecutors played it in open court during a preliminary hearing last month.
The video shows police approaching the home and knocking on the front door. After a few seconds, the front door opens, revealing Pelosi standing alongside a second man, later identified as David DePape. DePape and Pelosi are both holding onto a hammer.
The police exchange a few words with the men, then see the hammer and tell him to drop the weapon.
"Um, nope," DePape responds, yanking the hammer away and swinging it at Pelosi.
Police then rush into the home and pull DePape off Pelosi, who remains on the floor. Police can be heard requesting backup as they handcuff the suspect.
Pelosi, who is 82, suffered a fractured skull and injuries to his arms and hands, and underwent surgery after the early-morning attack in the couple's San Francisco home. DePape, 42, allegedly broke into the home around 2 a.m. and demanded to know where the congresswoman was. Paul Pelosi was able to call 911.
"Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott in October. "The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it."
An excerpt of security footage from a camera outside the Pelosi home was also released by the court Friday. It shows the suspect walking around the house, peering inside, and sitting down in the yard before pulling on a pair of gloves, smashing a hammer at a door or window, and then climbing through.
Authorities said DePape intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and told officers he wanted to "break her kneecaps." The congresswoman was in Washington, D.C., at the time. She announced the following month she was stepping down from Democratic leadership, though remaining in Congress.
The congresswoman said Friday her husband continues to make progress.
"I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in and I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband's life," she told reporters after the video was released.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to six charges that include attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, and threats to a public official and their family.
Court records say the San Francisco police "recovered zip ties in Pelosi's bedroom and in the hallway near the front door of the Pelosi residence" and found "a roll of tape, white rope, one hammer, one pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and a journal" in his backpack.
News organizations, including CBS News, sought the material played in court, including audio from Pelosi's 911 call, police bodycam footage and surveillance footage and clips of a police interview. ABC, NBC, Fox, The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, joined in that request, The Associated Press reported,
San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Adam Lipson, who represents David DePape, said he thought it was "a terrible mistake" to release the video and other evidence in the case.
"The footage is inflammatory and could feed unfounded theories about this case, and we are extremely concerned about Mr. DePape's ability to get a fair trial," Lipson said in a statement.
"Appealing the release of this evidence is a difficult question since the damage has been done. But we are evaluating our options for this case and intend to continue providing Mr. DePape the vigorous defense that he's entitled to."
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