US authorities have brought federal charges of attempted kidnapping and assault against the accused assailant of Paul Pelosi, the husband of Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
The charges announced by the US Department of Justice on Monday against David Wayne DePape, 42, carry a combined maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.
The court filings contained new details about the alleged assault, which has raised fresh fears about the security for high-profile politicians amid a tense build-up to the US midterm elections next week.
DePape was arrested on Friday after entering the Pelosi residence in San Francisco in the middle of the night. DePape told authorities he was planning to hold the speaker — whom he described as the “leader of the pack” of lies told by the Democratic party — hostage to question her, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit. DePape said that had she lied, he planned to break “her kneecaps”.
DePape, who entered the house by breaking a glass door with a hammer, carried tools including rope, tape as well as rubber and cloth gloves, authorities said.
Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, DC, at the time of the attack. Her husband told police officers he was asleep when DePape — whom he did not know — entered his bedroom asking to speak to “Nancy”. Pelosi was able to call 911 from the bathroom after the assailant said he would wait for the speaker to return.
DePape — who said he had planned to tie up Paul Pelosi — told authorities he did not leave after the 911 call since “much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender”. He added that he aimed to use Nancy Pelosi to attract an additional, unnamed individual, according to the prosecution’s court filings.
When officers reached the house, they found both men holding a single hammer, which DePape then allegedly used to strike Pelosi in the head. The attacker confirmed his full name as officers restrained him, the affidavit said.
The pair was taken to hospital after the attack. Pelosi is expected to fully recover after surgery aimed at repairing a skull fracture and significant injuries on his hands and arm.
According to the affidavit, DePape lived in a garage in Richmond, California, where officers found items including hammers, gloves and a sword.
Nancy and Paul Pelosi, who is a venture capitalist and an investor in real estate and sports teams, have been married since 1963 and have five children.