Footage of the attack on the husband of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be made public after a judge on Wednesday denied prosecutors’ request to keep it secret.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Murphy ruled there was no reason to keep the footage secret, especially after prosecutors played it in open court during a preliminary hearing last month, according to Thomas R. Burke, a San Francisco-based attorney who represented The Associated Press and a host of other news agencies in their attempt to access the evidence.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office turned over the evidence to Murphy on Wednesday after a court hearing. Murphy asked the court clerk’s office to distribute it to the media, which could happen as soon as Thursday.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of Nancy Pelosi, was sleeping at the couple’s San Francisco home on October 28 when someone broke in and hit him with a hammer. Prosecutors charged David DePape, 42, in connection with the attack.
During a preliminary hearing last month, prosecutors reproduced parts of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call plus footage from Capitol Police surveillance cameras, body cameras from the two police officers who arrived at the home, and video of the DePape interview with police.
But when news organizations asked for copies of that evidence, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office refused to turn it over. The attack, which occurred just days before the 2022 midterm elections, sparked intense public speculation that fueled the spread of false information.
The district attorney’s office argued that posting the images would only allow people to manipulate them in their quest to spread false information.
But the news agencies argued that it was vital that prosecutors publicly share their evidence that could discredit any false information circulating on the Internet about the attack.
“You don’t remove the public right of access just because of concerns about conspiracy theories,” Burke said.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office did not respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
News agencies that sought publication of the images include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Press Democrat, CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC, NBC, and KQED, an NPR-based station. radio member in San Francisco.
DePape pleaded not guilty last month to six charges, including attempted murder. Police have said DePape told them there was “evil in Washington” and that he wanted to harm Nancy Pelosi because she was second in line to the presidency. His case is pending.
The Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives after the midterm elections. Republicans chose California Republican U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker. Pelosi will remain in Congress, but has resigned as Democratic leader. She was replaced by Hakeem Jeffries from New York.