SAN FRANCISCO — 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 means he won’t get a fair trial.
David DePape is set to appear in federal court Wednesday. His lawyers will ask the judge to move the trial to the city of Eureka, 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.
Prosecutors say DePape broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on Oct. 28 seeking to kidnap the former speaker — who was out of town — and instead beat her 83-year-old husband with a hammer. The violence sent shockwaves through the political world.
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.