Accused Paul Pelosi attacker pleads not guilty to state charges

Dec 28 (Reuters) - The Canadian man accused of breaking into the San Francisco home of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and striking her 82-year-old husband, Paul, in the head with a hammer pleaded not guilty to state criminal charges on Wednesday.

David Wayne DePape, 42, was charged with attempted murder, first-degree residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, and threatening a family member of a public official.

DePape pled not guilty on Wednesday to all charges and denied all the allegations, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement.

In November, DePape pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges in relation to the attack on the House speaker's husband.

DePape waived his right to a speedy trial and his next court date will be Feb. 23, 2023, to set a date for a jury trial, Jenkins said.

A San Francisco police officer testified earlier in December that he witnessed the October attack.

Prosecutors say the suspect, demanding to see the Democratic House speaker, had broken into her home and attacked her husband. The assault stoked fears about political violence in the United States in the run-up to November's midterm elections.

After the attack, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands. He was released from hospital in early November.

DePape was arrested at the scene. Prosecutors also say DePape threatened to take the House speaker hostage.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.