David DePape: Jury pool for man charged with attack on Paul Pelosi discuss politics, biases, QAnon

Stephanie Sierra Image
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Prospective jury pool for David DePape discuss politics, biases
Jury pool for David DePape, the man charged with attack on Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home last year discuss politics, biases and QAnon.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Jury selection began Monday for the federal trial of the man charged with the attack on Paul Pelosi.

It's been just over a year since surveillance and body camera footage captured David DePape breaking into the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last October and striking her husband on the head with a five pound steel hammer.

The trial begins Thursday with opening arguments.

Around 100 prospective jurors walked into the federal courtroom Monday to be questioned. This included a diverse group of people of all ages and professions, including students and X (Twitter) employees.

The jury pool appeared to have more men than women. Some of them indicating they knew nothing about this case other than saying "Paul Pelosi got hurt," while others discussed their extensive knowledge about QAnon.

In total, 12 jurors and two alternates will be selected to decide DePape's fate. The jury pool was asked to answer questions on a wide range of topics, including whether they are represented by Rep. Pelosi, if they have ever supported her campaign, or expressed opinions about her on social media.

TIMELINE: Latest updates after Paul Pelosi attacked inside San Francisco home

"This is the time for people to express their bias, this is the time for people to truthfully say how they feel," said Adam Gasner, a 22-year federal criminal defense attorney.

Gasner says jury selection is crucial to ensure a fair trial.

"The reality is, San Francisco has a wide variety of people who are for and against that family in general," he said. "What we really fear is that people will hide those views and say they can be fair when they really can't."

Several jurors admitted they could not remain impartial given the media exposure or other preconceived notions they had about the case and the former speaker.

One potential juror candidly responded to one of the questions saying Pelosi "deserved harsh treatment." While others said they could still remain impartial despite expressing frustration over the Pelosi's stock trading arguing "they have privileges they use for financial gain."

"If someone is critical of Pelosi, it shows a bias and perhaps they aren't a good juror for this case," Gasner said.

VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi reveals how she first heard about attack on her husband at SF home

Nancy Pelosi revealed how she got the news that her husband, Paul, had been attacked inside the family's San Francisco home by David DePape.

A public defender representing DePape has argued the extensive media attention, as well as the former speaker's popularity in San Francisco, would prohibit him from getting a fair trial. This is why DePape's defense team tried to move his trial to Eureka, but the judge denied that request. Gasner says it's too soon to tell if juror impartiality will be an issue.

"San Francisco is a big and diverse county, Eureka for example is a small and not so diverse county, but I think the reality is there's a lot of San Franciscans here that will be fair," said Gasner.

In the interview following the attack, DePape told an SFPD investigator that he was on a "suicide mission" and intended to hold the former speaker hostage with plans "to break her calves" if she didn't take back what he called lies about former President Donald Trump.

On Monday, jurors were asked extensively if they have seen any of the audio or video footage pertaining to this case and whether that has influenced them.

DePape has pleaded not guilty to both federal assault and attempted kidnapping charges.

Paul Pelosi is scheduled to testify next Monday.

RELATED: Former neighbors describe Paul Pelosi attack suspect David DePape as 'quiet, evasive'

The judge expects the trial will wrap by next Wednesday.

What new details could the trial uncover?

Publicly released audio and video footage have revealed quite a bit about what led up to the Oct. 2022 attack. But one detail that continues to be a mystery - "Target 1" on DePape's alleged 'hit list.' This was uncovered during the interview he had with SFPD revealing DePape also wanted to go after Gov. Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks, and the President's son, Hunter Biden.

According to the prosecution, DePape was planning on using Pelosi to lure "Target 1" who was described as "way up on his list." It's unclear if this person's identity will be revealed during trial.

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