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Justice Department charges suspect in Paul Pelosi assault

Justice Department charges suspect in Paul Pelosi assault

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DePape broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home through a glass door, according to DOJ’s affidavit accompanying the charges, and then entered the bedroom searching for Nancy Pelosi. Paul Pelosi was asleep when he arrived, after which point DePape said he wanted to tie him up and showed Paul Pelosi zip ties he was carrying after entering the home.

Paul Pelosi ultimately called 911 and struggled against DePape in the home’s foyer, and he was hospitalized after DePape allegedly struck him in the head with a hammer early Friday morning, according to DOJ’s affidavit. Police tackled DePape after arriving on the scene, where officers found a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, gloves and the zip ties, DOJ said Monday.

DePape told investigators he didn’t leave after the 911 call because he believed that “much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender.”

He was immersed in 2020 election conspiracy theories and other political conspiracy theories, according to social media and other online posts.

DePape told San Francisco police that Paul Pelosi had opened the front door to the home before their struggle for the hammer. Paul Pelosi’s actions meant he was “taking the punishment instead,” DePape said during his interview with officers, per the affidavit.

DePape called out for Nancy Pelosi during the break-in, according to law enforcement officials — an echo of rioters’ vocal search for the speaker during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. DePape also told Paul Pelosi he viewed the speaker as the “leader of the pack” of the Democratic Party.

Prosecutors said he wanted to see the speaker wheeled into Congress with broken kneecaps, “which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”

The attack has rattled Capitol Hill, where members have warned of spiking threats against lawmakers in recent years, especially after the Jan. 6 riot. Some lawmakers have called for increased security; the Capitol Police is conducting a review of the Pelosi break-in, its division tasked with protecting lawmakers and the command center that was monitoring the security camera feed from the speaker’s home.

According to DOJ, FBI agents also searched DePape’s home, a garage in Richmond, Calif., where they found two hammers, a sword and gloves.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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