Read a PDF of our statement here.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed that an assailant broke into the Speaker’s residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted her husband, Paul Pelosi. Mr. Pelosi has since been hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery.

Later in the day, the San Francisco Police Department announced that David Depape is in custody for the assault and will be charged with attempted homicide, burglary, and several other felonies. The motivation for the attack is still under investigation, but reports indicate that Depape was shouting “Where is Nancy?” as he entered the home and that he has been associated with various conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns.

Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President & Director-Counsel Janai Nelson issued the following statement regarding the disturbing incident:

“We send our heartfelt hopes to the Pelosi family for Paul Pelosi’s fast and full recovery following this horrific attack and for the continued safety of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We are gratified that the suspect has been apprehended and that this incident will be thoroughly investigated.

“While details continue to emerge, the intentionality behind the attack and its target are clear. Indeed, there has been a deeply alarming meteoric surge in threats against members of Congress in the past five years. According to the U.S. Capitol Police, in the first three months of 2022 alone, it recorded over 1,800 cases of threats against members of Congress. A New York Times investigation found that these threats may be especially acute against lawmakers of color, whose spending on personal security outstrips the amounts spent by their white colleagues on average. And we cannot forget the unimaginable scenes at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when the nation watched in horror as hordes of insurrectionists broke into our seat of government, brutalized law enforcement personnel, and threatened the lives of elected officials and the very survival of our democracy.

“The rise of political and hate-fueled violence is a scourge on our nation that all of us must unequivocally reject and repudiate. The chilling consequences of violent and inflammatory rhetoric are often deadly. As Election Day draws closer, and millions of people continue to exercise their most fundamental right in voting booths across the country, we call on all Americans—particularly those with public platforms—to commit to ejecting violent, hateful, and incendiary speech and actions from our body politic. Whether it be intimidation at the ballot box or the targeting of marginalized youth, families, and even teachers because of their viewpoints or identities, this violence harms us all.  We also call on elected leaders across party lines to condemn this growing climate of violence that continues to put them and our nation at risk.”


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.