Suspect in attack on Pelosi's husband expected to be formally charged

The suspect broke into the Pelosis' home and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer on Friday.

 FBI agents work outside the home of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where her husband Paul Pelosi was violently assaulted after a break-in at their house, according to a statement from her office, in San Francisco, California, US, October 28, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)
FBI agents work outside the home of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where her husband Paul Pelosi was violently assaulted after a break-in at their house, according to a statement from her office, in San Francisco, California, US, October 28, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)

The US Justice Department on Monday charged a 42-year-old man accused of attacking US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul with assault and attempted kidnapping, the agency said in a statement on Monday.

David DePape, 42, is accused of breaking into the Pelosi residence early on Friday and assaulting Paul Pelosi, 82. The two counts he faces carries up to 50 years in prison, the department said.

DePape was being held in a San Francisco jail after he was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, battery, burglary, threatening a public official or family member and other felonies.

Police have not offered a motive for Friday's assault on Paul Pelosi, 82, who according to his wife's office underwent surgery for a skull fracture and injuries to his hands and right arm, though doctors expect a full recovery.

The incident stoked fears about political violence less than two weeks ahead of midterm elections on Nov. 8 that will decide control of the House of Representatives and Senate, coming amid the most vitriolic and polarized US political climate in decades.

Paul Pelosi (credit: QUIRINALE.IT/ATTRIBUTION/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Paul Pelosi (credit: QUIRINALE.IT/ATTRIBUTION/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said hours after the attack that it was not a random act of violence. The intruder shouted, "Where is Nancy?" before attacking, according to a person briefed on the incident who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The suspect could also face federal charges if investigators determine that he wanted to attack the speaker. DePape had a list of people he wanted to target, CBS News reported on Monday, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the CBS report.

Where was Nancy Pelosi during the attack?

The 82-year-old House speaker herself, a Democrat who is second in the constitutional line of succession to the US presidency, was in Washington at the time of the assault.

She flew to San Francisco to be with her husband, and released a statement on Saturday expressing dismay that "a violent man broke into our family home, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband Paul."

After he was arrested at the house, DePape was taken to a San Francisco hospital, but it was not made clear whether he was there for medical or psychiatric care, or both.