Skip to main content

Pelosi attacker David DePape pleads not guilty to federal charges

Defendant David DePape (right) and Federal Public Defender Angela Chuang (left) during DePape’s court appearance in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. | Vicki Behringer for The Standard

Alleged hammer attacker David DePape appeared in federal court for the first time on charges relating to the assault on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

DePape faces federal charges of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee, and of assault of an immediate family member of a federal official.

DePape pleaded not guilty on all charges.

He is suspected of attacking Paul Pelosi in the family's Pacific Heights home.

DePape has separately been charged in state court with attempted murder, burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and threatening a family member of an elected official, for all of which he pleaded not guilty.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has said that DePape faces 13 years to life in prison if found guilty on state charges.

DePape allegedly entered the Pelosi home by breaking through a rear glass door and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer at least once before being arrested by San Francisco police officers at the scene.

Once DePape was restrained, officers secured a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties from the crime scene, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

(From left to right) Attorney Ed Chang, Attorney Laura Vartain, Federal Public Defender Angela Chuang, defendant David DePape, Courtroom Deputy Stephen Ybarra, Courtroom Deputy Brittany Sims and Judge Alex G. Tse during DePape’s court appearance in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022 | Vicki Behringer for The Standard

DePape had been living in a Richmond garage and was politically right-wing, according to neighbors. He had also peddled conspiracy theories in his personal blog as recently as August. He was previously in a relationship with locally well-known nudist activist, Gypsy Taub. 

DePape had planned to find Nancy Pelosi and question her about the “truth,” saying he would break her kneecaps if she lied, so that “she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions,” according to a federal complaint filed after his arrest.

Speaker Pelosi has spoken out about the attack, saying the outcome of the midterm elections will determine her future in Congress.

Paul Pelosi is expected to make a full recovery, but it may take a long time.

DePape will next appear in federal court on Nov. 30. at 9 a.m.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at

Filed Under