A man who said he was the suspect in last year’s hammer attack on Paul Pelosi expressed regret in a phone call from jail to a California TV station — not that he almost killed his victim, but that he didn’t hurt more people.
On Friday, Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU received a call from the San Francisco jail, according to reporter Amber Lee. She said it was DePape.
“What I did was really bad,” the man says in the audio. “I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them. … I should’ve come better prepared.”
DePape spoke about his perceived enemies uninterrupted as if he were reading a script, Lee said during an interview with her station.
At the start of the nearly six-minute call, Lee said, she was told that she could record it but that she was not allowed to challenge DePape’s statements or ask follow-up questions because he didn’t want the call to affect his legal case.
The phone call came hours after authorities released evidence including the police body-camera footage from the night of the attack at the Pelosis’ home in the posh Pacific Heights neighborhood. DePape told Lee that he saw the video.
In the footage, Paul Pelosi, 82, and DePape can be seen struggling for control of a hammer. DePape wrests the weapon from Paul Pelosi and strikes him in the head, before officers tackle him to the ground.
Pelosi suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and his hands. He spent six days at a hospital and was expected to make a full recovery.
The attack on Pelosi, which took place a few days before the midterm election that would lead to Democrats losing control of the House, is widely considered an act of political violence. The attacker has said he had intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who at the time was speaker of the House but has since stepped aside from party leadership.
In a public statement Friday, DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, said releasing the body-camera footage is disrespectful to Paul Pelosi and could spark unfounded theories about the case, jeopardizing DePape’s ability to get a fair trial.
Lipson did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Sunday morning.
Lee had tried to contact DePape after his arrest, but the phone call Friday was unexpected, she said on KTVU. Lee and KTVU did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment Sunday morning.
DePape told Lee that freedom and liberty in the United States were “being killed systematically and deliberatively,” and that he found “names and addresses” of those he deemed responsible. He wanted to “have a heart-to-heart chat about their bad behavior.”
A blog filled with baseless claims and screeds against Jews, Black people, the media and transgender people was written under DePape’s name and registered to his former address last August, The Post confirmed. The blog also included pro-Trump and anti-Democratic posts.
After DePape was arrested, he told the authorities that his intention was to “detain and injure Speaker Pelosi,” according to a federal court filing. He told investigators that she was “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party.” He had brought zip ties, a roll of tape, rope, a journal and the hammer to the Pelosi residence. Pelosi was not at home when DePape entered.
DePape, a Canadian citizen who was in the United States illegally, faces possible deportation once his criminal cases are resolved. His relatives told Canadian media that DePape grew up in British Columbia and it is unclear how he ended up in Northern California.
He has pleaded not guilty to state and federal counts that include attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and assault on a family member of a federal official. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment.
Reis Thebault, Danielle Paquette, Justine McDaniel and Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.