The man suspected of assaulting Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, now faces federal charges of assault and attempted kidnapping, the US Department of Justice has announced. .
David DePape, 42, is charged with attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer at the couple’s San Francisco home just before 2:30 a.m. Friday, according to San Francisco police.
While San Francisco prosecutors have yet to announce charges against DePape, federal charges were still a possibility due to early evidence suggesting the suspect appeared to be motivated to break into the home, at least in part. , to reach the speaker, sources told ABC News. .
DePape was charged with one count of assaulting an immediate family member of a U.S. official with intent to exact revenge against the official for the performance of his official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He is also charged with one count of attempted kidnapping of a US official because of the performance of his official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
DePape is expected to be charged locally with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and elder abuse, authorities said following the attack.
The attack was intentional, Scott said, describing a chaotic scene at the home once police arrived.
Paul Pelosi and DePape each had one hand on a hammer when officers from the San Francisco Police Department arrived before DePape was able to wrestle the hammer away and began “violently” attacking Paul Pelosi with it, said Friday. San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.
Officers then attacked DePape and disarmed him, Scott said.
Paul Pelosi called 911 after DePape entered the house, allowing the dispatcher to hear what was going on during the altercation with DePape, police said. Paul Pelosi later told police he was sleeping when DePape, whom he had never seen before, entered his room, according to the complaint.
DePape later allegedly told officers “he was going to take Nancy hostage and talk to her” and that he wanted to use the Speaker of the House to lure someone else out, the affidavit states.
The suspect also allegedly told investigators he intended to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps if she didn’t tell him the ‘truth’ about the ‘lies being told by the Democratic Party’ and said she should be driven to Congress, thereby showing other members of Congress that there are “consequences to actions,” according to the criminal complaint.
Paul Pelosi was struck at least twice with the hammer, sources told ABC News. He underwent successful surgery on Friday to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, the president’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said in a statement. Although his injuries are significant, he is expected to make a full recovery, Hammill said.
DePape allegedly shouted “Where’s Nancy?” repeatedly after entering the home through a sliding glass door and moving around the house, law enforcement officers familiar with the investigation told ABC News. The speaker was in Washington, DC, at the time, according to Capitol Police.
The suspect was carrying a bag containing duct tape and zip ties, two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News on Sunday.
DePape was hospitalized with injuries from the attack. While police are still investigating the motive, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank dedicated to researching extremism and disinformation, said DePape “was likely motivated by a wide range of conspiratorial beliefs.”
“Over the past two months, DePape has published dozens of articles and videos on his blogs spreading conspiracies and hate speech related to COVID-19, women, Hillary Clinton, the Jewish community, the security forces. federal order (e.g. FBI), government censorship, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the climate crisis, QAnon, the 2020 election, the transgender community, and “grooming” in schools ISD said in a statement, though no post was found that specifically mentions Nancy Pelosi.
Among the number of social media posts reviewed by investigators, some in which DePape allegedly espouses COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories, theories about the 2020 fake election, frustration with the Jan. 6 congressional hearings and anger over the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
DePape is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday. It is not known whether he has retained the services of a lawyer.
ABC News’ Alex Mallin, Luke Barr, Meredith Deliso, Mike Levine and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.