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Suspect David Wayne DePape pleads not guilty in first court appearance

David Wayne DePape, the suspected attacker in the assault of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul, pleaded not guilty to all state charges in San Francisco court Tuesday. 

DePape entered the court in an orange jump suit, his right arm was in a black sling. Showing no emotion, he avoided eye contact in the court room. 

The 42-year-old has been charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threats to a public official and their family. The Justice Department has also charged him with assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. 

According to court filings, DePape broke into the Pelosi home in San Francisco and he encountered Paul Pelosi, whom DePape allegedly assaulted with a hammer, court documents said. The FBI affidavit filed in the federal case against DePape also said that the San Francisco police “recovered zip ties in Pelosi’s bedroom and in the hallway near the front door of the Pelosi residence.” 

He told San Francisco police after his arrest that, “If Nancy [Pelosi] were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break ‘her kneecaps,'” so that she would have to be wheeled into Congress.   

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, attend MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 8, 2019.

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

DePape could face decades behind bars if found guilty on the state and federal charges. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on Monday said the state and federal cases will work in tandem. 

Jenkins said investigators believe DePape intended to murder Paul Pelosi and that his actions were politically motivated.

 “What is clear, based on the evidence that we have thus far, is this house and the speaker herself were specifically targets of the defendant,” Jenkins said Monday. 

In a Monday night statement, the speaker said her husband is “making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process.” 

DePape faces potentially decades behind bars if convicted of the state and federal charges. He is currently in county jail. 

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