The man suspected of the violent "politically motivated" attack on the husband of Democratic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping, US authorities announced on Monday.
• Read also: The Pelosi couple and political violence
• To read also: Nancy Pelosi “traumatized” by the violent attack suffered by her husband
• Read also: United States: Nancy Pelosi's husband attacked, the attacker was looking for the American Democratic leader
David DePape, who was looking for the chosen one, said during his arrest that he had intended to "break her kneecaps" if she lied, according to a federal court document.
He entered the couple's home in San Francisco on Friday morning, equipped in particular with rope, pairs of gloves and adhesive tape, the United States Department of Justice said in a press release.
So many elements which prove, according to the ministry, that he intended to kidnap the person in charge, a count of federal indictment which could be worth to him up to 20 years of prison. Assaulting her husband faces another prison sentence of up to 30 years, the Justice Department said.
On Monday night, the San Francisco district attorney announced a flurry of new charges, including attempted murder and burglary, this time at the local, not the federal level.
It was a "politically motivated" attack, and David DePape could be sentenced to life in prison, said Brooke Jenkins at a press conference.
The man had entered the couple's room looking for Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington that day. His arrival had awakened Paul Pelosi, 82, who had had time to call the 911 emergency number before the suspect attacked him with a hammer.
After his arrest, David DePape told officers that he held Nancy Pelosi responsible for the "lies" propagated according to him by the Democratic Party, according to a court document attached to the press release from the ministry.
Stating that he had intended to take her hostage and talk to her, the man explained that if she told him "the truth", he would release her, but that "if she lied, he would break her kneecaps", according to this same source.
Paul Pelosi "suffered the punishment for him," the suspect said.
Nancy Pelosi, who said she was "traumatized" by the attack, said Monday night that her husband was making "steady progress in what will be a long recovery."
This attack occurred ten days before the midterm elections, during which the Democrats are in great danger of losing their majority in the House of Representatives.
On Friday, before the details of the assault on Nancy Pelosi's husband became known, US security officials expressed concern in a memo that disinformation could drive some extremists to carry out violent attacks.
Fears were also expressed by President Joe Biden, who in a speech on Friday evening warned that misinformation could influence people who are “not fully balanced”.
David DePape, who lived in a garage in a small town near San Francisco, had shared posts on social media in recent months claiming the election was stolen or the Covid vaccines didn't work.
Inti Gonzalez, whose mother was the suspect's companion for years, claimed he had recently turned to far-right conspiracy.
The American political class was almost unanimous in its condemnation of the attack, described as "despicable" by Joe Biden.