During the 911 call played in court, Paul Pelosi sounded relatively calm as he spoke with a San Francisco dispatcher, who has been praised by local officials for recognizing that the speaker’s husband was in trouble and that the call warranted a faster police response.
When the dispatcher asks if Pelosi needed police, fire, or medical attention, he responds, “Uh, I don’t think so. I don’t think so,” before asking if the Capitol police were available.
“They’re usually here at the house protecting my wife,” Pelosi says.
Pelosi can be heard talking to DePape in the recording, asking him, “What do you think?”
“Uh, he thinks everything’s good,” Pelosi tells the dispatcher. “I’ve got a problem, but he thinks everything’s good.”
The dispatcher then asks Pelosi if he knows who DePape is, but Pelosi says that he doesn’t before adding that the man was “telling me not to do anything.” The dispatcher then gets Pelosi’s name as well as the address of his home. Pelosi then says, “He’s telling me to put the phone down and to just do what he says.”
“What’s the gentleman’s name,” the dispatcher asks.
“My name’s David,” DePape responds.
“And who is David,” the dispatcher asks.
“I don’t know,” Pelosi says. Then DePape can be heard saying, “I’m a friend of theirs.”
Throughout the hearing, DePape, who was wearing orange pants and an orange crewneck sweatshirt, sat with his attorney, public defender Adam Lipson, as he listened to the testimony. When Officer Cagney identified DePape as the man he said he saw lunge at Pelosi with a hammer and striking him in the head, DePape blinked and nodded, leaning back in his chair.
In the body-worn camera footage, which was not visible to most members of the media and public in the courtroom, Cagney and his partner can be heard walking up to the Pelosis’ house in Pacific Heights and then knocking on the door. About ten seconds later, Paul Pelosi opens the door.
“Hi, how are you doing,” someone says.
“What’s going on, man,” Cagney’s partner, Officer Kolby Wilmes, says. A moment later, Wilmes says, “Drop the hammer.” “Um, nope,” DePape responds.
It was at that moment when DePape started leaning backward to pull the hammer away from Pelosi, Cagney testified. Pelosi tried to step back to get away from DePape, the officer said, but then DePape lunged at him and struck him in the head.
Cagney said he then ran inside the house “as fast as [he] could” and tackled DePape. Meanwhile, Pelosi was laying face down on the floor next to a pool of blood and appeared to be unconscious. In the body camera footage, Pelosi can be heard snoring loudly as the officers detain DePape.
At the time of the attack, DePape had been living in a garage in Richmond, a city about 20 miles northeast of San Francisco. He was previously associated with a group of Bay Area nude activists and photographed at demonstrations in the early 2010s. But in recent years, he had shared social media posts espousing debunked conspiracy theories about COVID vaccines, the 2020 presidential election, and the murder of George Floyd. Two blogs that were written by a person named David DePape were also filled with racist, antisemitic, and other bigoted statements.
In his interview with Hurley, DePape said he had planned to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied, according to the recording. He told Hurley that he would give her the chance to tell “the truth,” but that he didn’t expect her to.
“He wanted to show that if she, Nancy Pelosi, had wheeled herself into Congress in a wheelchair that he would relay that there were consequences to their actions,” Hurley testified.
DePape also told Hurley that Paul Pelosi was not his target — “I even told him that,” DePape said, according to the recording.
But after Pelosi called the police, DePape said he felt like the Speaker’s husband gave him no choice.
“He’s pushing me in a corner where I have to do something,” he told Hurley.
DePape said he explained to Pelosi that he had “other targets,” and that he couldn’t be stopped.
“If I have to go through him, I will,” DePape said in the interview.
Later in the interview, Hurley asked, “Why did you hit him?”
“I told him that I’m not going to surrender,” DePape said. “I’m here for the fight. … If you stop me from going after people, you will take the punishment instead.”