Accused Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape pleads not guilty to attempted murder and other charges

Key Points
  • David DePape pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance after being arrested and charged with attacking the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to NBC news.
  • DePape is accused of breaking into the couple's San Francisco residence and violently assaulting Paul Pelosi with a hammer.
  • DePape's arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court came as Paul Pelosi remained hospitalized.
Paul Pelosi's attacker pleads not guilty
Paul Pelosi's attacker pleads not guilty

David DePape, the man accused of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's residence and violently assaulting her husband with a hammer, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including attempted murder, according to NBC news.

DePape's arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court came as Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old spouse of the top-ranking House Democrat, remained hospitalized after the alleged attack early Friday morning.

The 42-year-old suspect was booked in San Francisco county jail on numerous state charges, including attempted murder, burglary, assault and false imprisonment, after being discharged from the hospital.

The Department of Justice has also charged DePape with two federal crimes, attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assaulting an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official, according to his criminal complaint.

DePape was unshaven and had long hair in his first court appearance, NBC reported. He wore an orange jump suit, and his arm was in a sling due to a dislocated shoulder, his public defender Adam Lipson told reporters after the brief hearing Tuesday afternoon.

DePape is currently being held without bail, Lipson said, adding that another hearing is set for Friday.

DePape told police he was on a "suicide mission" and had plans to target other California and federal politicians, according to a Tuesday court filing where prosecutors detailed the attack in stark terms as part of their bid to keep DePape behind bars.

DePape allegedly said he had other targets, including a local professor as well as several prominent state and federal politicians – and members of their families.

The filing also said that Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood.

Wearing orange jail clothing, DePape only spoke to tell Judge Diane Northway how to pronounce his last name (dih-PAP'). The 42-year-old defendant is scheduled to return to court Friday.

After the hearing, Lipson said he looks forward to providing DePape with a "vigorous defense." He also said he met DePape on Monday night for the first time and had not seen the police reports yet. 

The attorney also gave his best wishes to Paul Pelosi, who is recovering after undergoing surgery to repair a skull fracture.

Lipson declined to offer specifics about his defense strategy, but noted that there has "been a lot of speculation regarding Mr. DePape's vulnerability to misinformation, and that's certainly something that we're going to look into."

The San Francisco District Attorney said Monday that the attack at the Pelosi residence appeared to be "politically motivated."

Paul Pelosi told a police officer after the attack that DePape had woken him up in his bedroom early Friday morning and said he wanted to talk to "Nancy," according to a federal affidavit.

Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., at the time. Paul Pelosi managed to call 9-1-1, and when officers arrived, DePape struck him with the hammer, authorities said.

DePape himself later told police he saw the House speaker as the "'leader of the pack' of lies told by the Democratic Party," the affidavit said. He said he wanted to hold her hostage and talk to her, and if she lied he would break her kneecaps, the document said.

DePape had arrived at the San Francisco home toting zip ties, tape, rope and at least one hammer, according to the affidavit.

— The Associated Press contributed to this article.