Pelosi makes first comments since husband was assaulted

By Olga R. Rodriguez and Lisa Mascaro | Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her first public appearance since Friday’s brutal attack on her husband, rallied grassroots activists and said the midterm elections to control Congress are a fight for democracy and “very winnable.”

“People say to me, ‘What can I do to make you feel better?’ I say, ‘Vote!'” Pelosi told callers.

“I think this race is very winnable,” said Pelosi.

Her voice cracked at times as she said of her husband’s recovery, “It’s going to be a long road.”

Pelosi thanked those in a video call for supporting Paul Pelosi, 82, who suffered a fractured skull and other injuries after an intruder broke into her San Francisco home late last week and hit him with a hammer in what authorities said saying was a deliberate and political attack.

The Democrat leader was speaking early this morning from California, where her husband was discharged from the hospital late Thursday, and her voice cracked during the long but upbeat speech. “What we’re doing is not just winning an election, it’s strengthening our democracy,” Pelosi said. “There is no question that our democracy is on the ballot.”

The speaker’s comments come as Democrats face an uphill battle for control of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while energetic Republicans work to flip the House and Senate and end Democrat hold on Washington.

David DePape, 42, is being held without bail on charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. DePape public defender Adam Lipson pleaded not guilty on his behalf earlier this week and pledged to vigorously defend him. Lipson declined to comment Friday.

At a Friday hearing, a San Francisco judge revealed that she worked with Speaker Pelosi’s daughter in the 1990s, giving prosecutors and the public defender’s office an opportunity to object to her role in the case .

Judge Loretta “Lori” Giorgi said she and Christine Pelosi worked together in the San Francisco Attorney’s Office in the 1990s but hadn’t spoken to each other in years. Christine is one of Pelosi’s five adult children, and while she has never held elected office, she is considered a potential successor if Pelosi steps down from her seat in the House of Representatives.

In court filings released earlier this week, officials said DePape broke into the home carrying zip ties, duct tape and a piece of rope in a backpack. He woke Paul Pelosi and demanded to speak to “Nancy,” who was out of town. Two officers who ran to the home after Paul Pelosi called 911 saw DePape hit him in the head with the hammer.

No one objected to Giorgi’s ties to the Pelosi family during Friday’s hearing, but either side may do so in the future, and San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the case could still be tried by another judge. The public prosecutor initially did not comment.

“I want to put on record that Mr. Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, and I were in the city’s attorney general’s office together in the ’90s,” Giorgi told the court. “And I’ve disclosed the interactions I had when she and I were together. I did not see, hear, or speak to Ms. Pelosi after she left the office. I see her here today.”

Giorgi worked in the prosecutor’s office from 1985 to 2006, when she was appointed to the prosecutor’s office. She rose to the rank of assistant city attorney and served as the office’s director of public integrity. Christine Pelosi attended Friday’s hearing but appeared to go through a back door to avoid the media waiting in the hallway. She entered the courtroom just before the trial began and sat in the front row, away from reporters.

Christine Pelosi is active in California and in national democratic politics. In 2019, she published a book about her mother called The Nancy Pelosi Way. In 2017, as chair of the California Democratic Party’s Women’s Committee, she was actively involved in the #MeToo movement that was taking shape in the state capital.

Prosecutors did not immediately respond to a request for details about Giorgi and Christine Pelosis’ employment.

DePape, who is Canadian, overstayed his authorized U.S. immigration more than two decades ago. According to a US official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, he should have been refused return to the country when he returned a number of times over the years because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Mascaro reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles, Elliot Spagat in San Diego, and Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, California contributed to this story. Pelosi makes first comments since husband was assaulted

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