A man accused of assaulting the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer has pleaded not guilty to federal charges against him.
David DePape is charged with attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting a federal official’s immediate family.
The charges stemmed from a break-in at the San Francisco home of Nancy and Paul Pelosi on Oct. 28, just days before the midterm elections. Mr Pelosi, 82, required surgery for a fractured skull.
DePapp, 42, of Richmond, a San Francisco suburb, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse.
The federal charges include assaulting an immediate family member of a U.S. official with intent to retaliate against the official for performing official duties.
Sentenced to up to 30 years in federal prison.
Another charge alleges Mr DePape attempted to kidnap a US official “in the performance of official duties”.The indictment alleges that Mr. DePape intended to kidnap Mrs Pelosi – and The maximum penalty is 20 years’ imprisonment.
Dressed in orange and not in handcuffs, Mr. DePape, a fringe activist drawn to conspiracy theories, was assigned a public defender to represent him during his brief court appearance in San Francisco.
Officers responding to Mr. Pelosi’s 911 call found him and Mr. De Pape fighting over a hammer, the indictment said.
It said an officer ordered Mr. DePape to drop the hammer, but he replied “um, no” before swinging it hard at Mr. Pelosi.
The sequence lasted about 15 seconds, and it continued, but with Mr. Pelosi and Mr. DePape lying on the floor, Mr. Pelosi had hematomas around his head.
When Pelosi called emergency services, he told dispatchers he was sleeping when a man he had never met walked into his bedroom looking for his wife, who was in Washington, D.C. at the time.
Officers later found a shattered glass door on the back porch. They recovered a zip tie, a roll of duct tape, white cord, a second hammer and a pair of rubber gloves.
The attack on Mr Pelosi comes at a time when threats to US politicians and election officials are at an all-time high and authorities have warned of rising extremism.
Mr. DePape is being held by the State without bail.