The man accused of using a hammer to assault the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to hold Mrs. Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps if she didn’t tell the “truth,” federal officials said Monday as they filed criminal charges.
Federal authorities in San Francisco charged David Wayne DePape, 42, of Berkeley, California, with attempted kidnapping of Mrs. Pelosi and assault of a family member of a U.S. official.
Later Monday, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced the filing of additional state charges against Mr. DePape of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening the life/bodily harm of a public official.
She said the attack appeared to be “politically motivated,” but offered no major details.
The complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco charged Mr. DePape “with the intent to retaliate against [Mrs. Pelosi] on account of the performance of official duties.” The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The complaint said Mr. DePape broke into the couple’s San Francisco home on Friday. It also said Mr. DePape told police that he wanted to hold Mrs. Pelosi hostage and talk with her.
SEE ALSO: Accused attacker of Paul Pelosi had zip ties, wrote a blog with fairy rantings, extreme screeds
“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 complaint said. “DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth.’ In the course of the interview, DePape articulated he viewed Nancy as the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party.”
Police said Mr. DePape told them that “by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”
“DePape also explained generally that he wanted to use Nancy to lure another individual to DePape,” the complaint said.
He was being held without bail in a hospital on Monday and was expected to be arraigned in court on Tuesday.
Mr. DePape fractured the skull of Paul Pelosi, 82, after smashing his way into the couple’s home while Mr. Pelosi was sleeping, police said.
Mrs. Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack. Her husband was in intensive care after undergoing surgery over the weekend. He is expected to recover.
SEE ALSO: Republicans push back as Democrats seek to blame Pelosi attack on GOP
Police said they had retrieved a list belonging to Mr. DePape of other potential targets, according to CBS News. Authorities did not reveal any names on the list.
Fox News, citing a source in the Homeland Security Department, reported that Mr. DePape is in the U.S. illegally as a “longtime” visa overstay.
The Justice Department’s complaint bolsters the argument of Democrats, including President Biden and his aides, who blame Republicans for inciting the violence through heated election-year rhetoric. They point to Mr. DePape’s website, which has been taken down, voicing rants against Jewish people, Blacks, Democrats, the media and transgender people, according to the Daily Mail.
Liberals say the attack bears similarities to the Jan. 6, 2021, pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol. Some rioters sought Mrs. Pelosi and swarmed her office.
Mr. DePape’s daughter confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he wrote a blog that included postings such as, “Either Q is Trump himself or Q is the deepstate moles within Trumps inner circle.”
Mr. DePape told police officers that he decided not to leave the house when Mr. Pelosi dialed 911.
“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 federal complaint stated.
Republicans say Democrats have encouraged political violence, such as the attempted assassination of conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and an attempted attack this summer on Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin in New York. They said Mr. DePape’s motives were not known, that his background suggested mental illness and that he seemed to have lived a liberal lifestyle.
“When I met him, he was only 20 years old, and he didn’t have any experience in politics,” said Mr. DePape’s ex-girlfriend Oxane Taub. “And he was very much in alignment with my views, and I’ve always been very progressive.”
Ms. Taub said he has been “mentally ill for a long time” and “thought he was Jesus,” according to an interview with ABC7 in San Francisco. She said Mr. DePape disappeared for nearly a year at one point.
“He came back in very bad shape. He thought he was Jesus. He was constantly paranoid, thinking people were after him. And it took a good year or two to get back to, you know, being halfway normal,” she said.
Ms. Taub is a jailed nudist activist convicted of child abduction charges.
The federal complaint provides details of a violent and bizarre encounter between Mr. DePape and Mr. Pelosi that began sometime before 2:23 a.m. Friday, when Mr. Pelosi called police on his cellphone. He told police there was a man in his home whom he didn’t know.
When officers arrived eight minutes later, they knocked on the door. Mr. Pelosi opened the door, and police found Mr. Pelosi and Mr. DePape both holding a hammer.
Officers asked what was going on, and Mr. DePape replied that “everything was good,” the complaint stated.
After officers asked Mr. DePape and Mr. Pelosi to drop the hammer, Mr. DePape pulled the weapon free and hit Mr. Pelosi in the head with it. Mr. Pelosi was knocked unconscious.
Officers restrained Mr. DePape and found his backpack on the back porch near broken glass.
In the backpack, they found a roll of tape, white rope, another hammer, one pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and a journal.
A police officer interviewed Mr. Pelosi during the ambulance ride to the hospital. Mr. Pelosi said he had never seen the assailant before and was asleep when Mr. DePape entered his bedroom. He said Mr. DePape asked to speak with “Nancy.”
“When Pelosi told him that Nancy was not there, DePape stated that he would sit and wait,” the complaint stated. “Pelosi stated that his wife would not be home for several days and then DePape reiterated that he would wait.”
Ms. Jenkins said Mr. Pelosi initially tried to get to safety in an elevator where he knew there was a telephone, but he was blocked by Mr. DePape.
Mr. Pelosi was able to go into the bathroom, where he called 911.
Mr. DePape told police that although he had sought the speaker, Mr. Pelosi’s actions resulted in “taking the punishment instead.”
The complaint says Mr. DePape has lived in a garage of a residence in Richmond, California, for about two years.