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Suspected attack Paul Pelosi wanted to take speaker hostage: prosecutors

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SAN FRANCISCO — Man accused of knocking down House Speaker husband Nancy Pelosi with a hammer after breaking into the couple’s home, threatening to take her hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied during his interrogation, according to a federal complaint filed Monday.

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David Wayne DePape’s alleged intentions emerged when federal prosecutors charged the 42-year-old suspect with assault and attempted kidnapping in Friday’s break-in before dawn at Pelosis’s San Francisco home.

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Several state charges were filed separately in the San Francisco Superior Court, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, elder abuse and threat to a public servant, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced at a news conference. An arraignment is set for Tuesday, her office said.

The 82-year-old speaker of the US House of Representatives, a Democrat who is second in line to the US presidency, was in Washington at the time of the attack. Her husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, a real estate and venture capital manager, underwent surgery for skull fractures and injuries to his hands and right arm, and he remained in hospital on Monday.

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“Paul is making steady progress in what will be a long recovery process,” the speaker said in a statement Monday.

The attack, which Jenkins called “politically motivated,” has fueled fears of partisan extremist violence just over a week before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, which will decide control of Congress during one of the most vicious and polarized US campaigns in decades. Democrats’ continued control of both the House and Senate is at stake.

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As one of the top Democrats in Washington and a longtime representative of one of America’s most liberal cities, Nancy Pelosi has been a frequent lightning rod for displays of conservative criticism and disdain.

Her office was looted during the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol by a mob of supporters of Republican President Donald Trump, some of whom hunted her during the fight, following a fiery speech by Trump falsely claiming his defeat at the U.S. presidential election of 2020 was the result of fraud.

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Awakened By Stranger

DePape was arrested by police officers sent to Pelosis’s home after Paul Pelosi made a 911 emergency call reporting an intruder, according to an affidavit from the FBI filed as part of the federal criminal complaint.

San Francisco police found zip ties in the bedroom and in the hallway near the front door. Police also found a roll of tape, string, a second hammer, a pair of gloves and a journal in DePape’s backpack, the affidavit said. The intruder entered the home through a glass door.

Paul Pelosi, who was initially knocked unconscious from the attack, later told police he was sleeping when a stranger armed with a hammer crawled into his second-floor bedroom and woke him up and demanded to speak to his wife, according to the report. the charge.

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According to Paul Pelosi’s account in the affidavit, he told the intruder that his wife would be gone for several days and the intruder replied that he would stay and wait for her. Pelosi’s husband said he managed to slip into the bathroom to call 911, the affidavit said.

The suspect told police in an interview after his arrest that he planned to take Nancy Pelosi hostage for questioning, and that if she told the “truth” he would let her go, but if she “lie” he would make her kneecaps. break. Affidavit from the FBI.

He told police he did not flee Pelosi’s home after Paul Pelosi’s appeal because, according to the affidavit, “like the American founding fathers of the British, he fought tyranny without the ability to surrender.”

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Authorities said police officers who arrived at Pelosi’s home saw DePape and Pelosi struggling over a hammer. As the officers yelled at both men to drop the tools, DePape snatched the hammer and hit Pelosi in the head before officers subdued DePape and took him into custody.

DePape was charged in federal court on one count of assaulting a relative of a US official and one count of attempted kidnapping of a US official. Prosecutors claimed the violations stemmed from the defendant’s intent to retaliate against the Speaker of the House for her “performance of official duties.”

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The federal charges carry a combined maximum penalty of 50 years in prison, the Justice Department said in a statement announcing the charges. The state’s charges carry a sentence of 13 years to life in prison, Jenkins said.

Online posts recently posted on various websites by an internet user called “daviddepape” expressed bigotry against minorities, Jews, women and transgender people, while embracing the cult-like, right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

Older online posts promoted quartz crystals and hemp bracelets. Reuters could not confirm that the reports were made by the suspect charged Monday.

Experts on extremist ideology have said Friday’s attack appeared to be an example of a growing trend they call “stochastic terrorism,” in which sometimes unstable individuals are inspired to commit violence through hate speech and scenarios they see and hear online. reverberated by public figures.

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