Paul Pelosi testifies about moments after hammer-wielding attacker burst into his room

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SAN FRANCISCO — The husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recalled Monday being bludgeoned by a hammer-wielding assailant and waking up in a pool of his own blood.

Paul Pelosi, 83, took the witness stand to testify against the man accused of attacking him with a hammer in a politically motivated attack on Oct. 28, 2022.

"The door opened, and a very large man came in with a hammer in one hand and some ties in the other, and he said, 'Where’s Nancy?' as I think that woke me up," Pelosi testified. "I’m asleep, and he bursts in the door, and that woke me up."

Pelosi sustained a fractured skull.

The suspect, David DePape, has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.

Pelosi testified he didn't set his home's alarm before he went to bed, so there was no warning sound when the attacker broke the glass of a rear door to enter.

The assailant had a hammer and zip ties, and, Pelosi said, "I recognized I was in serious danger."

"He was standing in the doorway, and I assume he was 3, 4 feet away from me," Pelosi testified. "It was a tremendous sense of shock to see somebody broken into the house."

When Pelosi told his attacker that his wife was in Washington, D.C., DePape allegedly said he'd have to tie him up and they'd wait for her return.

Pelosi managed to get his cellphone and call 911 from the bathroom before DePape snatched the phone away, he testified.

Pelosi said he knew his best chance to survive was to get downstairs to meet responding police, and he testified that he told DePape: “Since all your stuff is downstairs, why don’t we go downstairs? You can tie me up, and you can get some sleep.”

When officers arrived, Pelosi said, he reached for DePape's hand, with the hammer, before DePape pushed him away and started hitting him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Vartain asked Pelosi what he remembered next, and he said: “Waking up in a pool of blood.”

Pelosi said he still has headaches and dizzy spells from the brutal attack.

He quipped that he's pleased his hair has grown back in, saying it "must be Italian roots or something."

Pelosi completed his testimony with no cross-examination from DePape’s defense lawyers, who don't contest that their client was the attacker.

DePape appeared stoic as Pelosi testified.

While Pelosi moved and spoke slowly, he appeared alert and generally recovered from last year's attack.

Pelosi admitted that he has tried to keep the horrifying night out of his mind: "I made the best effort I possibly can to not relive this."

Nancy Pelosi wasn't in court Monday. Although she has said she has no intention to seek the gavel again, Pelosi, 83, has already announced her 2024 run for the San Francisco seat she has held since 1987.

Their daughter Christine Pelosi was in court Monday, as she has been since jury selection on Nov. 6.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday, and the deliberations are expected to begin later in the day.

Before Paul Pelosi took the stand Monday afternoon, prosecutors showed jurors police body camera video of the attack, in which he was struck three times.

The disturbing video, played in slow motion, appeared to transfix jurors, though no one reacted audibly.

DePape's defense previously sought to prevent the government from showing the attack in slow motion, but U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley allowed it.

The federal trial in downtown San Francisco is sure to lay bare the corrosive impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation in modern politics.

DePape was caught in a rabbit’s hole of far-right conspiracies that led him to believe the nation is run by a “ruling class engaged in corruption,” defense attorney Jodi Linker told jurors last week.

DePape wasn’t out to kidnap Nancy Pelosi or do harm to Paul Pelosi, the defense maintains; instead, it says, he sought to use them to reach a person the prosecution calls “Target 1.”

That person has been identified as Bay Area scholar and University of Michigan professor Gayle Rubin, a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.

The government has said DePape planned for months to attack the Pelosi home and kidnap the House speaker.

DePape allegedly had $9,000 cash, zip ties, rope and duct tape in a backpack that he took to the Pelosi home, according to the government.

DePape has blogged about his belief that aliens, communists, religious minorities and global elites all threaten America, authorities have said.

He has repeated baseless allegations that Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in 2020 was not legitimate and embraced QAnon, a far-right movement that claims America is being secretly run by a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles, officials have said.

DePape faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.

Chris Young reported from San Francisco and David K. Li from New York City.

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