The man accused of attacking the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was “evil in Washington” and he was looking to harm Ms Pelosi because she is second in line for the presidency, a San Francisco police investigator has said.
The intruder, David DePape, accused of striking Ms Pelosi’s husband Paul in the head with a hammer, is on trial for attempted murder and other charges.
Lt Carla Hurley, who interviewed Mr DePape for an hour the day of the attack, said on Wednesday that the defendant told her of other people he wanted to go after, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks and Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden.
Lt Hurley did not say whether police had any evidence of a plot against the other public figures.
Mr DePape, a long-time Bay Area resident, had been active on social media, railing against the government and technology companies, and spreading far-right conspiracy theories.
“There is evil in Washington; what they did went so far beyond the campaign,” Mr DePape told Lt Hurley, according to a recording of their interview that was played in court.
Police say Mr DePape broke into the Pelosi residence early on October 28, aiming to take the House Speaker hostage, but she was in Washington at the time. Mr DePape allegedly attacked her husband after a verbal confrontation.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy ruled in a preliminary hearing that prosecutors had shown enough evidence to move forward with a trial on state charges including attempted murder.
The defendant “formed the intent early on to take out anyone in his way [and] Mr Pelosi got in his way in particular when he called 911", Mr Murphy said, summing up his view of the evidence.
“He intended to kill Mr Pelosi when he got in his way.”
Besides attempted murder, the state charges against Mr DePape include assault with a deadly weapon, residential burglary, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threatening a public official’s family member. He has pleaded not guilty.
The defendant also faces charges filed by the Justice Department of attempted kidnapping of a US official and assault of an immediate family member of a US official in retaliation for performing her duties. He faces decades in prison in both cases if convicted.
Mr DePape’s lawyer, public defender Adam Lipson, argued on Wednesday that Mr DePape’s attack was not premeditated.
“What ‘I’m going to take you out’ means isn’t completely clear,” Mr Lipson told Mr Murphy. While Mr DePape clearly thought through breaking into the home, he said, “Mr Pelosi was never a target”.
He is due back in state court on December 28.
News agencies contributed to this report