By Stefanie Dazio and Brian Melley
Video released publicly Friday shows the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fighting for control of a hammer with his assailant during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home last year.
The body-camera footage shows suspect David DePape wrest the tool from 82-year-old Paul Pelosi and lunge toward him the hammer over his head. The blow to Pelosi occurs out of view and the officers — one of them cursing — rush into the house and jump on DePape.
Pelosi, apparently unconscious, can be seen lying face down on the floor in his pajama top and underwear. Officials later said he woke up in a pool of his own blood.
The release comes after a coalition of news agencies, including The Associated Press, sought access to the evidence that prosecutors played in open court last month. The San Francisco District Attorney's Office had refused to make the exhibits available to journalists.
Warning: Graphic video
A state court judge Wednesday ruled there was no reason to keep the video secret.
The evidence includes portions of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call on Oct. 28, as well as video images from Capitol police surveillance cameras, a body camera worn by one of the two police officers who arrived at the house and video from suspect DePape’s interview with police.
The Capitol Police video shows DePape walk up to a glass-panel door, leave and then return wearing a large backpack and carrying two other bags. He set all the items down and pulled out a hammer, pausing to put on gloves, and used it to smash the door glass so he could step through an opening.
DePape has pleaded not guilty in ongoing state and federal cases. He is being held in jail without bail.
Members of Congress have faced a sharp rise in threats in the two years since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, Paul Pelosi, right, the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fights for control of a hammer with his assailant during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home on Oct. 28, 2022. The body-camera footage shows the suspect David DePape wrest the tool from the 82-year-old Pelosi and lunge toward him the hammer over his head. The blow to Pelosi occurs out of view and the officers — one of them cursing — rush into the house and jump on DePape. (San Francisco Police Department via AP)
Paul Pelosi was asleep at the couple’s home when DePape allegedly broke in. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time and under the protection of her security detail, which does not extend to family members.
Her husband of nearly 60 years later underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. He has since appeared in public wearing a hat and a glove that covered his wounds.
Nancy Pelosi on Thursday told reporters her husband’s well-being was paramount and she did not know if she would view the video once it was released.
“I don’t even know if I will see that,” she said. “I mean, it would be a very hard thing to see an assault on my husband’s life, but I don’t know.”
Police have said DePape told them there was “evil in Washington” and he wanted to harm Nancy Pelosi because she was second in line to the presidency at the time.
DePape told police he was on a “suicide mission,” court documents say, and authorities have said he was drawn to conspiracy theories.
Misinformation about the attack has been rampant.
The San Francisco police officer's body-camera video begins with officers approaching the brick home and rapping on the door. It takes about 20 seconds for the door to open and during that time, the officers discuss whether they have the right house.
When the door opens, Paul Pelosi says, “Hi, guys, how are you?”
Both men are facing the officers at the door and a flashlight shows DePape holding the handle of a hammer with his right hand and clutching Pelosi’s right hand, which is gripping around the hammer head, with his left hand.
“What’s going on, man?” the officer asks.
“Everything’s good,” DePape replies.
“Drop the hammer,” the officer says.
DePape says no and begins to pull it from Pelosi’s grip. Pelosi says, “Hey, hey.”
DePape wins control of the hammer and attacks Pelosi. The attack happens off-camera but Pelosi can be seen lying on the ground. The officers call for backup as they struggle to get DePape’s hand.
There’s a snoring sound in the background and the officer calls for a medic.
Associated Press Writer Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington contributed to the report.