SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The man accused of breaking into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and beating her husband with a hammer pleaded not guilty. David DePape, 42 of Richmond, Calif., was on a “suicide mission” with plans of targeting several politicians, court documents filed Tuesday state.

DePape appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon to enter his plea. He wore an orange jail-issued inmate jumpsuit. DePape’s right arm was in a sling because his arm was dislocated when officers tackled and arrested him inside Pelosi’s house on October 28.

Judge Diane Northway ordered DePape to remain behind bars with no bail.

Public defender Adam Lipson told reporters, “We’re going to be looking into Mr. DePape’s mental state. From experience, I can say that there’s always more to the story than what is initially reported. There are a lot of rumors and speculation about this incident that will need to be sorted out in court. Mr. DePape is entitled to a vigorous legal defense, and we intend to give him one.”

Reporters gather outside the courtroom on Nov. 1, 2022 for the arraignment. (Photo by KRON4/ Dan Kerman)

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins charged DePape with six felony counts for the attack against Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi. Prosecutors said DePape’s intended target was Nancy Pelosi, however, she was not home.

Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer and woke up in a pool of his own blood, court documents state.

DePape is charged with premeditated attempted murder, burglary, inflicting injury on an elder likely to cause great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, and threatening a family member of a public official.

Jenkins held a news conference with reporters immediately following the arraignment. She said, “This case is vulnerable to misinformation. We are seeing it spread across all platforms at this point. We need to make sure that the record is clear. This is somebody who planned this, sought to harm the Speaker of the House. He could not locate her and then targeted her husband. I consider him to be dangerous … someone who was willing to enact violence that was politically motivated. That’s why we filed a motion to detain him without bail.”

David DePape
David DePape records Gypsy Taub being led away by police after her nude wedding outside City Hall on Dec. 19, 2013, in San Francisco. DePape was known in Berkeley, Calif., as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked at protests against local ordinances requiring people to be clothed in public. (AP Photo / Eric Risberg / File)

“We are at a point in the United States where political rhetoric has become too inflammatory. We can’t be that type of America. We need to pull it back,” Jenkins said.

According to an affidavit written by FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor, DePape broke into the house in Pacific Heights with the intent of kidnapping Nancy Pelosi. “DePape had zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him,” Minor wrote.

Paul Pelosi did not know DePape, according to the affidavit. The two men were struggling to gain control of DePape’s hammer when San Francisco Police Department officers arrived. The home intruder swung the hammer, striking Paul Pelosi in the head and knocking him unconscious to the ground, Minor stated.

David DePape speaks with his public defender in court on Nov. 1, 2022. (Courtroom sketch by Vicki Behringer)

‘Suicide Mission’

According to court documents filed by prosecutors on Tuesday, DePape told police that he was on a “suicide mission” and had plans to target other California and federal politicians.

DePape allegedly said his other targets included a local professor, as well as several prominent state and federal politicians — and members of their families.

“He forced his way into the Pelosi home intending to take the person third in line to the presidency of the United States hostage and to seriously harm her,” court documents state.


The affidavit gave the following timeline for the morning of October 28:

  • “At 2:23 a.m., San Francisco Dispatch received a 911 call from Paul Pelosi. Pelosi stated words to the effect of there is a male in the home and that the male is going to wait for Pelosi’s wife. Pelosi further conveyed that he does not know who the male is. The male said his name is David.”
  • “At 2:31 a.m., San Francisco Police Department Officer Colby Wilmes responded to the Pelosi residence. When the door was opened, Pelosi and DePape were both holding a hammer with one hand and DePape had his other hand holding onto Pelosi’s forearm. The officers asked them what was going on. DePape responded that everything was good. Officers then asked Pelosi and DePape to drop the hammer. DePape pulled the hammer from Pelosi’s hand and swung the hammer, striking Pelosi in the head. Officers immediately went inside and were able to restrain DePape. While officers were restraining DePape, Pelosi appeared to be unconscious on the ground.”

Paul Pelosi’s statements to police

Paul Pelosi was interviewed by police during his ambulance ride to San Francisco General Hospital. He told police that he had never seen DePape before. Paul Pelosi said he was sleeping when DePape entered his bedroom and said he wanted to talk to “Nancy,” the affidavit states.

“When Pelosi told him that Nancy was not there, DePape stated that he would sit and wait. Pelosi stated that his wife would not be home for several days and then DePape reiterated that he would wait,” the affidavit states.

Paul Pelosi was able to make a 911 call inside a bathroom. When police officers arrived at the house, DePape began striking him with a hammer, Paul Pelosi told police.

David DePape
David DePape is shown in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 13, 2013. (Michael Short /San Francisco Chronicle via AP /File)

David DePape’s statements to police

Police read DePape his Miranda Rights on October 28 and he agreed to speak with SFPD officers.

He told police that he was going to “hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied’ he was going to break her kneecaps,'” the affidavit states. DePape was certain that Nancy Pelosi was going to lie to him, he allegedly told police.

DePape allegedly told police that he viewed Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic Party’s “leader of the pack” for telling “lies.” He told police that he wanted to break the Speaker’s kneecaps so that she would have to be wheeled in a wheelchair during her next next appearance in Congress. That would show other Congress members that there were “consequences to actions,” DePape allegedly said.

“DePape explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 911 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender,” the affidavit states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.