Paul Pelosi testifies about moment intruder looking for his wife attacked him with hammer

Paul Pelosi testifies about moment intruder looking for his wife attacked him with hammer

The husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, testified at a federal trial about the harrowing attack at his San Francisco home last year that left him with a fractured skull.

Mr Pelosi, 83, testified on Monday about his traumatic interaction with David DePape, the 43-year-old who is accused of assaulting him with a hammer and of plotting to kidnap Ms Pelosi on 28 October 2022. Mr DePape has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Mr Pelosi began by telling jurors that he had only talked about the violent night with investigators: “I have not discussed this incident with anybody. I’ve tried to put it out of my mind. I made the best effort I possibly can to not re-live this.”

Mr Pelosi said that since he hadn’t turned on his home’s alarm before he went to bed, there wasn’t a warning sound when the attacker broke in.

“The door opened, and a very large man came in with a hammer in one hand and some ties in the other, and he said, ‘Where’s Nancy?’ as I think that woke me up,” Mr Pelosi testified about the moment of the intrusion. “I’m asleep, and he bursts in the door, and that woke me up.”

Mr Pelosi told jurors, “It was a tremendous sense of shock to recognise that somebody had broken into the house and looking at him and looking at the hammer and the ties, I recognised that I was in serious danger.”

He said he tried to stay “as calm as possible.”

When the attacker asked, “Where’s Nancy?” Mr Pelosi recalled telling the intruder that his wife was in Washington DC. In response, Mr DePape said he would tie him up while they waited for her to return.

Mr Pelosi then sought an escape route. He first turned to the elevator “because if I can get in the elevator, there’s a phone in the elevator, and I could close the door so he couldn’t get to me. I walked toward the elevator, but he blocked me.”

That’s when, Mr Pelosi testified, the intruder told him that Ms Pelosi “was the leader of the pack, he had to take her out, and that he was going to wait for her.”

Then he was able to get to his bathroom, “because I always leave my cell phone in my bathroom,” he said, and called 911.

Mr Pelosi said he had to be careful with how he spoke to the 911 dispatcher: “I had to convey to the 911 person that I was in trouble. I was trying to convey to them that there was somebody in the house, without aggravating him.”

“It’s over for me, I’m going to have to take you out,” Mr Pelosi recalled the intruder telling him. Then things got weird. Mr Pelosi recalled the intruder said he wanted to take a nap, so Mr Pelosi led him down a winding staircase to the first floor by suggesting he could sleep down there.

When the police finally arrived, the officers’ body cameras caught the moment that Mr DePape lunged at Mr Pelosi before bludgeoning him with a hammer.

Mr Pelosi sustained a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands, which subsequently required surgery. He told jurors on Monday that he has nearly made a full recovery in the year since the assault.

FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor testified that footage showed Mr DePape hit Mr Pelosi multiple times — at least three times. She also said that the accused began collecting the items used in the attack in August 2022 — two months prior. She said he bought body cameras, USB memory sticks, a large backpack and a sleeping bag.

Ms Minor added that the FBI discovered two inflatable unicorn costumes and a box of crayons but didn’t clarify their intended purpose.

If he’s convicted, Mr DePape faces life in prison. Mr DePape also faces state charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty, including counts of attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, among others. He is slated to appear in San Francisco Superior Court on 29 November.