Nancy Pelosi: Man charged with attempted kidnapping and assault on husband

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Paul Pelosi has undergone surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.
Paul Pelosi has undergone surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File

US federal authorities have charged a man for attacking the husband of senior Democrat lawmaker Nancy Pelosi.

David DePape is accused of attempting to kidnap Pelosi and assaulting her husband Paul with a hammer.

The 42-year-old broke into the couple's home in San Francisco on Friday morning.

According to prosecutors, the suspect wanted to "break [Pelosi's] kneecaps" if the Democrat congressional leader did not stop "lying".

Nancy Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, was in Washington D.C. at the time of the attack. Her 82-year-old husband Paul was able to call the police before he was assaulted.

DePape reportedly told investigators that he believed Nancy Pelosi was responsible for the Democrats' "lies" and wanted to hold her hostage. He faces a combined maximum prison sentence of 50 years.

Nancy Pelosi said she was "traumatised" by the attack, but added that her husband's condition was improving.

The assault came just ten days before the US mid-term elections, where the Democrats could lose their majority in the House of Representatives.

Pelosi's office was previously ransacked when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building in January 2021.

US security officials had already raised fresh concerns that online misinformation could fuel some extremists to commit political violence.

Investigators have stated that DePape previously shared false claims about the 2020 US presidential election and QAnon conspiracy theories.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg
The suspect broke into the Pelosis' San Francisco home on Friday.AP Photo/Eric Risberg

In the days after the attack, more false claims have widely spread online, including by including elected officials and Twitter's new CEO Elon Musk.

There is no evidence to support the baseless claim that Paul Pelosi and the suspect were involved in a "consensual sexual relationship".

“We have nothing to suggest that these two men knew each other prior to this incident,” San Francisco’s district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, told reporters on Sunday. She added during a press conference on Monday that the attack appeared to be politically motivated.