US Capitol Police were not monitoring the security feed of Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home on the night her husband, Paul Pelosi, was brutally assaulted, despite the House Speaker being among the highest-risk targets for politically motivated violence. It wasn’t until roughly 10 minutes after the Friday incident, when live footage showed flashing police lights in front of the house, that Capitol Police realized something was wrong, as The Washington Post reported.
Tuesday’s revelations are just the latest to debunk several right-wing conspiracy theories that followed the attack, which include baseless claims that the security cameras had conveniently malfunctioned as part of an elaborate cover-up.
The attacker, David DePape—who shared online ramblings about QAnon while raging against “cultural Marxism,” immigrants, and Jewish people prior to the assault—pleaded not guilty Tuesday after California state prosecutors charged him with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, threatening a public official, false imprisonment, residential burglary, and elder abuse. (He has not yet entered a plea in federal court.) As for a potential motive, a state court filing stated that DePape told officers and medics at the scene that he was disgruntled with the nation’s leaders, saying, “I’m sick of the insane fucking level of lies coming out of Washington, DC. I came here to have a little chat with his wife.” According to the state court filing, prosecutors allege that DePape said he knew “this was a suicide mission” and added, “I’m not going to stand here and do nothing even if it cost me my life.”
A complaint filed by federal authorities Monday further alleged that DePape sought to kidnap Pelosi, possibly break her kneecaps, and use her “to lure another individual” to him. It is unclear who that other individual could be, but San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins confirmed Tuesday that DePape planned to target a number of other prominent politicians and their relatives.
The DOJ complaint and Jenkins’s comments also put to rest one of the most prominent right-wing conspiracy theories about the attack: that DePape was romantically involved with Paul Pelosi and attacked him over a personal dispute. Those who have engaged with the claim, including Donald Trump Jr. and newly minted Twitter owner Elon Musk, have pointed to rumors that Paul Pelosi repeated the suspect’s first name during a call to a 911 dispatcher. But on Tuesday, Jenkins explained that Pelosi told the dispatcher that a man he did not know had broken into his house and that he was in trouble, which led DePape to announce his first name and declare himself a friend. “This was not a random act of violence. This was not a random residential burglary. This is something that was specifically targeted,” said Jenkins.