Saturday, April 20, 2024

Paul Pelosi’s Assailant Wants Trial Moved from San Francisco

A judge initially assigned to the case, Loretta 'Lori' Giorgi, had previously worked with one of the Pelosis' daughters, Christine, in the San Francisco city attorney’s office...

(Headline USA) Lawyers for the man charged in last year’s attack against former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband want his federal trial to be moved out of San Francisco, saying intense publicity—not to mention the Democrat leader’s stranglehold on the local political machine—means he won’t get a fair trial.

Already, the Pelosis have used their tremendous influence to wage what many consider to be an extensive cover-up concerning the circumstances of the assault, just days before the 2022 midterm election, which the Democrat leader falsely attempted to pin on right-wing extremism.

Prosecutors have charged David DePape with breaking into the Pelosis’s home on Oct. 28 seeking to kidnap the former speaker—who was out of town—and instead beating her 83-year-old husband with a hammer.

But preliminary police and media reports indicated that Paul Pelosi may, in fact, have known DePape, and that the two were both found at the scene in their underwear. Other evidence likewise pointed to a domestic struggle.

That evidence was quickly covered up, and San Francisco police not only backpedaled on their own reports but refused to release the body-camera footage as the case underwent considerable public scrutiny.

DePape, a Canadian national who was staying in the area on an expired visa and had ties to a local nudist cult, is set to appear in federal court Wednesday. His lawyers will ask the judge to move the trial to the city of Eureka, in neighboring Oregon. The federal trial is set to start Nov. 13.

His federal public defenders, Jodi Linker and Angela Chuang, say media attention on the case in the San Francisco Bay Area has tainted the pool of jurors. They said a survey they commissioned shows many potential jurors already believe he is guilty of the crimes and would be unable to change their minds.

Moreover, a judge initially assigned to the case, Loretta “Lori” Giorgi, had previously worked with one of the Pelosis’ daughters, Christine, in the San Francisco city attorney’s office. Giorgi ultimately recused herself in favor of Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy.

However, the connection underscored the Pelosis’ extensive personal ties in the local political ecosystem, which has often proven a breeding ground for aspiring state- and national-level figures like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris, all of whom began as local San Francisco government officials.

DePape, 43, pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting a federal official’s family member. He also pleaded not guilty to state charges, including attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. He remains jailed without bail. The state trial hasn’t been scheduled.

Linker and Chuang also said they fear potential jurors in San Francisco could be biased against DePape because Nancy Pelosi, who has represented the city in Congress since 1987, remains a popular figure in the Bay Area.

They said Bay Area media outlets have extensively covered the case and played video footage of the assault on Paul Pelosi, the 911 call, and a police interview of DePape shortly after his arrest.

Footage of the attack was released to the public in January after a California judge denied prosecutors’ request to keep it secret. The publicly released footage alone was inconclusive in ascertaining any prior relationship between DePape and Paul Pelosi, although it confirmed that only the latter was in his underwear at the time police responded.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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