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Nancy Pelosi says husband faces 'long recovery process' from attack injuries

Frightening details emerge in Paul Pelosi assault case
Frightening details emerge in Paul Pelosi assault case 04:13

SAN FRANCISCO -- On the day his alleged attacker was formally charged by state and federal prosecutors, Paul Pelosi continued his recovery from severe head and arm injuries suffered in a politically motivated assault inside the family's San Francisco home.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying her 82-year-old husband was slowly recovering. He suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body in a violent hammer attack after David DePape allegedly broke into the family home.

San Francisco police said officers responded to the 2600 block of Broadway to a report of a home break-in, at approximately 2:27 a.m., Friday.

When San Francisco police officers arrived, Pelosi and DePape were wrestling over a hammer.

"When officers arrived on scene, they encountered an adult male and Mrs. Pelosi's husband, Paul," SFPD Chief Bill Scott told reporters. "Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it."

"Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid," he added.

Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Pelosi, said Paul "underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands."

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi sent out a news release, updating her husband condition.

"Since the horrific attack on Paul early Friday, we have been deluged with thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes.  We are most grateful," she wrote. "Thanks to the excellent trauma care medical team at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Paul is making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process."

On Monday, federal prosecutors charged DePape with one count of assault of an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

He also was charged with one count of attempted kidnapping of a United States official on account of the performance of official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

District Attorney Jenkins said that Paul Pelosi didn't know the attacker and had never seen him before he broke into the couple's home. 

After breaking the glass on the side door of the Pelosi resident, David DePape, made his way upstairs, where Paul Pelosi was in his bed sleeping, according to a federal affidavit filed Monday. District attorney Brooke Jenkins said the Richmond resident woke him up, asking for Nancy. 

"Mr. Pelosi who was sleeping was wearing a loose-fitting pajama shirt and boxer shorts," said Jenkins. "He was forced to get out of bed and at some point during that encounter, Mr. Pelosi attempted to access the elevator in the home which has a phone."

But the affidavit said DePape blocked his access to it. After that, the district attorney said Mr. Pelosi asked to go to the bathroom, which is where he was able to call 911 from his cell phone. Realizing the call had been made, DePape brought Mr. Pelosi downstairs. 

"Two police officers arrived at the front door two minutes after that 911 call. When that door was opened, the defendant was holding his hammer which Mr Pelosi appeared to be attempting to control," said Jenkins. 

DePape allegedly gained control and swung the hammer, striking Mr. Pelosi in the head. Once the suspect was restrained, officers found a second hammer, zip ties, rope and a roll of tape. 

Jenkins said DePape is being charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault, elder abuse and threatening a public officer.

"It is incumbent upon us all to watch the words that we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric," Jenkins said. 

"It's something that I will tell you, unnerved me as a political figure in this city," she added.  

DePape will be held without bail and if convicted faces 13 to life in prison in state prison.  


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