SAN FRANCISCO — Revisiting one of the more brazen attacks of political violence of recent times, the 83-year-old husband of Rep. Nancy Pelosi recounted for jurors Monday how a hulking conspiracy-driven man broke into his home last fall in search of his wife.
“The door opened,” Paul Pelosi said, “and a very large man came in with a hammer in one hand and some ties in the other hand. And he said ‘Where’s Nancy?'”
It was the start of a night of terror that ended in an attack captured on police body camera that left Paul Pelosi with severe head injuries.
Pelosi’s account came as the prosecution ended its case in the trial of David DePape, a Canadian citizen living in the San Francisco Bay Area who faces federal charges of kidnapping and assault for what he told authorities was an attempt to strike at the former House speaker.
Despite the circumstances, Paul Pelosi said he managed to keep a cool demeanor while he tried to outwit the intruder and called police from the bathroom.
“I recognized that I was in serious danger, so I tried to stay as calm as possible,” Paul Pelosi said.
It was the first public account of the attack from Paul Pelosi, whose skull was fractured when DePape struck him in the head with the hammer as police responded to the October 2022 break-in. The congresswoman was in Washington at the time of the attack and has not been called as a witness.
DePape, 43, faces federal assault and kidnapping charges in a trial that could go to jurors by the middle of the week. DePape, who blinked feverishly and stared at the table in front of him as Pelosi testified, has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to life in prison.
The defendant had come to the Pelosi home with zip ties and what he later told police was the intention of attacking the former House speaker.
He told investigators that he planned to kidnap the congresswoman and “break her kneecaps” if she refused to accept the false contention that former President Donald Trump was the winner of the 2020 election.
DePape repeatedly struck Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer as police officers arrived at the door.
Paul Pelosi told jurors that his next clear memory was “waking up in a pool of blood” and being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
He choked up as he told the jury about his prolonged recovery. He said he still struggles with headaches and dizziness and has rarely spoken about the traumatizing ordeal with anyone.
“I’ve made the best effort possible to not relive this,” he said.