Footage of the attack on the husband of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be released to the 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 lawyer based in San Francisco who represented the court. The Associated Press and many other news agencies in their effort to find the evidence.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office handed over the evidence to Murphy on Wednesday after a court hearing. Murphy asked the clerk of court’s office to distribute it to the media, which could happen as soon as Thursday.
Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s husband, was sleeping in the couple’s home in San Francisco on October 28 when someone broke in and hit him with a hammer. Prosecutors have charged 42-year-old David DePape with the attack.
During a preliminary hearing last month, prosecutors played portions of Paul Pelosi’s 911 call plus footage from Capitol police surveillance cameras, body cameras worn by the two police officers who arrived at the home, and video from DePape’s interview with police. .
But when news organizations asked for copies of that testimony, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office refused to release it. The attack, which occurred just days before the 2022 midterm elections, sparked intense public speculation fueling the spread of false information.
The district attorney’s office argued that releasing the footage publicly would only allow people to manipulate it in their quest to spread false information.
But the news agencies argued that it was vital for prosecutors to share their evidence publicly which could erase any false information on the internet about the attack.
“You don’t end the public’s 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.
Among the news agencies that requested the release of the film are The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Press Democrat, CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC, NBC and KQED, NPR- member radio station in San Francisco.
DePape pleaded not guilty last month to six charges, including attempted murder. Police said DePape told them there was “evil in Washington” and that he wanted to harm Nancy Pelosi because she was second in line for the presidency. His case is pending.
The Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives after the mid-term elections. Republicans elected California Republican US 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.