The trial of the suspect accused of attacking former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer last year will start this week as the jury selection process is underway.
David DePape, a Canadian national who lived in the United States illegally for decades, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges connected to the incident, which occurred just days before the November midterm elections last year. Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. DePape of breaking into the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco before attacking Mr. Pelosi, 83, with a hammer, leaving him hospitalized with a skull fracture and other injuries.
The jury pool was asked about a range of questions, including whether their House representative is Ms. Pelosi, if they have supported her political campaigns, or if they have expressed opinions about the former Democrat House speaker on social media. Some jurors said they would not be able to be unbiased due to the media exposure or other notions about the hammer attack case, according to the reporters in the courthouse.
A police officer is heard instructing Mr. DePape to “drop the hammer.” In response, he replies: “Umm, nope.” Then, Mr. DePape turns and appears to strike the elderly man off-camera before police rush to apprehend the suspect.
Another video clip released by the U.S. Capitol Police appears to show Mr. DePape breaking into the Pelosi residence. He is seen peering into a window before returning with multiple bags and then starts attempting to break a window to get inside.
Lawyers for Mr. DePape, who is using a public defender, have argued that the footage should not have been released to the public because it could damage his right to having a fair trial.
Mr. DePape’s lawyers earlier this year attempted to change the venue of the trial to the Northern California town of Eureka but did not succeed. They said that holding the trial in San Francisco, where Ms. Pelosi has served as a representative for several decades, would make it difficult for him to obtain a fair trial.
More DetailsIn a phone interview earlier this year with local news outlet KTVU, Mr. DePape allegedly stated that he wanted to carry out more attacks because individual liberties are under attack by Washington politicians.
Those who are “killing it have names and addresses, so I got their names and addresses so I could pay them a little visit … have a heart-to-heart chat about their bad behavior,” Mr. DePape allegedly told KTVU.
He added: “I want to apologize to everyone. I messed up. What I did was really bad. I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them. It’s my own fault. No one else is to blame. I should have come better prepared.”
According to court papers, he mentioned other targets aside from Ms. Pelosi, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Hunter Biden. In an interview recording that was played in court, he was heard saying that he hadn’t “specifically” chosen the former House speaker but said “there is evil in Washington.”
Family members of the suspect have told local media that he suffers from mental problems. That includes his former partner, Oxane Taub, who said last year that he once disappeared for months before coming back home and claiming he was Jesus Christ.
Regarding his perceived political leanings, Ms. Taub, a reported nudist activist, said that “he was very much in alignment with my views and I’ve always been very progressive.”
Mr. DePape also faces state charges in connection to the attack. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.