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Court releases video of attack on Paul Pelosi

January 27, 2023
Police tape is seen in front of the home of former U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Her husband Paul Pelosi was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The San Francisco Superior Court on Friday released video and audio recorded during last year’s attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, including police body-cam footage depicting the moment of the attack and the alleged assailant’s police interview where he admitted he wanted to hold the then-House speaker hostage.

The video and audio files were released after a California court ruled the district attorney’s office must make the materials public.

One of the videos shows body-cam footage from officers who arrived at Pelosi’s home on October 28, 2022, when he was attacked. The footage shows the chaos of the moment in which alleged assailant David DePape attacked.

In the video, which includes graphic and violent content, Paul Pelosi and DePape both appear to have a hand on the hammer and DePape is holding Pelosi’s arm when the officers opened the door.

“Drop the hammer,” the officer says.

“Uh, nope,” DePape responds.

DePape then grabbed the hammer out of Pelosi’s hand, lunged toward him while striking him in the head. The officers rushed into the home, subduing DePape and handcuffing him.

In addition to the body-cam footage, the files include audio from a police interview with DePape, the 911 call Paul Pelosi made while DePape was in the home and surveillance video showing DePape breaking into the home.

The files were exhibits in a preliminary court hearing. The court’s decision mandating the public release of the materials came following a motion by a coalition of news organizations, including CNN, arguing that the circumstances involving the residence of the then-speaker of the House demanded transparency.

Lawyers for DePape argued against the public release of the audio and footage, writing it would “irreparably damage” his right to a fair trial. DePape has pleaded not guilty to a litany of state and federal crimes related to the attack, including assault and attempted murder.

Speaking briefly to reporters Friday afternoon, Nancy Pelosi said she had “absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life.” She said that Paul Pelosi is “making progress, but it will take more time” and that she would not be making additional public comments about the case.

‘I know exactly what I did’

In the audio recording of a San Francisco police officer’s interview of DePape following his October arrest, DePape admitted to attacking Paul Pelosi and described his plans to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage when he broke into the couple’s San Francisco home.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m not trying to, like, get away with this, so, you know, I know exactly what I did,” DePape said toward the beginning of the 17-minute audio clip.

“Well, I was going to basically hold her hostage, and I was going to talk to her,” DePape said of Nancy Pelosi. “If she told the truth, I’d let her go scot-free. If she f**king lied, I was going to break her kneecaps.”

In the interview, DePape embraced conspiracy theories about Democrats and Pelosi, complaining about a Democratic “crime spree” and baselessly claiming that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats had spied on former President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“They are the criminals,” DePape said.

The officer walked DePape through his break-in of the Pelosi house and his encounter with Paul Pelosi. When he was asked why he didn’t leave after Paul Pelosi called the police, DePape compared himself to the Founding Fathers’ fighting the British.

“When I left my house, I left to go fight tyranny. I did not leave to go surrender,” he said.

DePape explained why he attacked Paul Pelosi after the police arrived, when they both were holding onto a hammer. “He thinks that I’ll just surrender, and it’s like, I didn’t come there to surrender,” DePape said. “And I told him that I would go through him. And so I basically yank it away from him and hit him.”

Pelosi and DePape spoke on 911 call 

In the 911 call audio, Pelosi seemed to be subtly attempting to tell the dispatcher he was in danger while DePape was listening in. CNN has previously reported Pelosi made the call when he went into his bathroom, where his cell phone was charging.

“There’s a gentleman here just waiting for my wife to come back, Nancy Pelosi. He’s just waiting for her to come back, but she’s not going to be here for days, so I guess we’ll have to wait,” Pelosi said to the dispatcher.

“He thinks everything’s good. I’ve got a problem, but he thinks everything’s good,” Pelosi said at another point in the 2-minute, 56-second recording.

The dispatcher asked Pelosi if he knew who the man was, and Pelosi said he did not. “He’s telling me to put the phone down and just do what he says,” Pelosi said.

“Who is David?” the dispatcher asked.

“I don’t know,” Pelosi said.

DePape then spoke up on the call. “I’m a friend of theirs,” he said.

“He says he’s a friend. But as I said …” Pelosi said.

“But you don’t know who he is?” the dispatcher responded.

“No ma’am,” Pelosi said.

In the surveillance footage, DePape is seen breaking into the Pelosi home. The scene was captured by a US Capitol Police security camera installed at Pelosi’s San Francisco residence.

‘Where’s Nancy?’

The attack on Paul Pelosi was a factor in Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step back from House Democratic leadership, she has said previously.

Court documents revealed DePape allegedly woke Paul Pelosi shortly after 2 a.m., carrying a large hammer and several white zip ties, and demanded: “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” He then threatened to tie up Paul Pelosi and prevented him from escaping via elevator, according to the documents. DePape later allegedly told him, “I can take you out.”

Following the attack, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery “to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi said her husband’s recovery was “one day at a time.” She said she didn’t know if she would see the video when it was released.

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