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Paul Pelosi and his alleged attacker may testify at federal trial

A still from policy body cam footage showing David Depape and Paul Pelosi struggle over a hammer in the threshold of a home.
A still from police footage shows David DePape and Paul struggle over a hammer. | Source: Courtesy San Francisco Superior Court

Paul Pelosi and his attacker may both take the stand in the coming federal kidnapping and assault trial of David DePape, who allegedly broke into the home of then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to kidnap her last fall but instead struck her husband with a hammer.

As the trial nears, both defense and prosecution are required to share with the court the witnesses they plan to call to the stand and make their case for what they want to be excluded from the trial—including Paul Pelosi’s DUI 2022 conviction and allegations that DePape molested his children. 

DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home, where he was arrested by police officers who witnessed him attack Paul Pelosi with a hammer on Oct. 28, 2022. DePape allegedly had confronted Pelosi shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”

DePape then told police about wanting to kidnap Nancy Pelosi in a lone mission to punish her for her politics, court records say.

DePape, who’s facing a parallel state prosecution, has been charged with attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee and the assault of an immediate family member of a federal official.

The new filings in DePape’s federal court docket reveal four potential defense witnesses that include himself, an expert on antisemitism, Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco Chief of Staff Daniel Bernal and an unknown “witness 1,” whose name was redacted. 

United States Representative Nancy Pelosi, left, waves to spectators at the 2023 San Francisco Pride Parade alongside Rep. Adam Schiff. | Source: Justin Katigbak for The Standard

A call to Jodi Linker, the chief federal public defender in the district and DePape’s attorney, was not returned. 

The prosecution expects to call to the stand Paul Pelosi and a number of law enforcement officers who investigated the case. 

The prosecution and defense are also arguing over what kind of evidence can be brought into the trial,  as well as whether or not jurors will be asked their political party affiliation or whether they voted for Nancy Pelosi.

Prosecutors have said they would like any mention of Paul Pelosi’s DUI conviction in Napa County barred from the trial. They also said they do not plan to list the names of five of DePape’s other alleged targets. 

“Defendant’s Mirandized interview referenced his plan to target five additional individuals, including Target 1,” the filing said. “Any portions of this interview that the government anticipates moving into evidence do not refer to Target 1 or these four other individuals.”

The defense, meanwhile, has said it wishes the court to bar any “irrelevant, inflammatory and baseless” mention of DePape’s alleged child molestation from the proceedings. 

Linker wrote that “overwhelmingly prejudicial claims have been aired in the media that Mr. DePape sexually abused his three children years ago.” 

The defense had tried and failed to have the case moved outside of the Bay Area, which they said was too liberal to give DePape a fair trial.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Oct. 26.

David DePape, center, dances at the wedding of Gypsy Taub and Jaymz Smith on the steps of San Francisco City Hall on Dec. 19, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

Correction: The photo caption in a previous version of this story misidentified the person who was with Rep. Nancy Pelosi; she was next to Rep. Adam Schiff.