SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The trial for the man accused of breaking into then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home last year and striking her husband Paul with a hammer gets underway Thursday morning. David DePape is facing two charges: assault on an immediate family member of a federal official, and attempted kidnapping of a federal official.
Legal experts say tomorrow’s opening statements are crucial. They will set the tone and outline for the case. We may learn if Nancy Pelosi may take the stand, or David DePape himself.
Evidence such as the body-worn camera video from San Francisco police officers will play a major role in the case against DePape, according to legal experts. Officers responding to a 911 call from the Pelosi residence recorded the moment when DePape struck Pelosi with a hammer, fracturing his skull.
“It will be hard to dispute that so they will have to admit that and then create another way to go around it for their client,” said legal analyst Steven Clark.
Clark, a former prosecutor and now defense attorney, says for prosecutors the opening statements will focus on the gravity of the offense, plus highlight the key evidence and establish the defendant’s actions.
“This is a very important stage,” Clark said.
Clark says the defense will look to deflect the confessions made by DePape in the hours after his arrest. He says they will also likely bring in mental health experts to testify.
“They may try and soften the blow of his actions, and that this is all because he is not mentally of sound mind,” Clark said.
Paul Pelosi will probably take the stand, Clark said, and testify as to how he was awakened in the early hours by DePape who had reportedly broken into the couple’s Pacific Heights home looking for Speaker Pelosi.
DePape is on record saying he wanted to force Speaker Pelosi to “tell the truth.” If she didn’t, he planned to harm her. The stakes are high for DePape. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in a federal prison.