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Judge orders Paul Pelosi police footage released

By Sarah May on
 January 26, 2023

In a potentially humiliating turn of events for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a San Francisco judge ruled Wednesday that footage from surveillance cameras and police bodycams taken during and after a bizarre October attack on her husband, Paul, must be released to the media, as CBS News reports.

Access to the materials was sought by a host of top-tier news organizations interested in learning more about reported inconsistencies between the official media narrative and isolated details that continued to emerge in the days following the incident.

Footage ordered released

Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Murphy determined that there was no viable justification for keeping the aforementioned footage from the public, particularly given the fact that prosecutors have already played it in an open courtroom during a December preliminary hearing for accused attacker, 42-year-old David DePape.

In doing so, the judge rejected arguments made by DePape's lawyers who said that any release of the footage could harm his client's likelihood of receiving a fair trial.

DePape is currently in custody on a series of charges that include attempted homicide, elder abuse, and a string of other felonies, and audio from an interview he gave to police in the aftermath of the attack is included in the materials set for release, according to the Daily Mail.

Following Murphy's decision, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office turned over the materials to the court, and the clerk's office was asked to disseminate it to the media, something that was expected to occur as early as Thursday.

Brutal attack

The attack on Mr. Pelosi took place on the morning of Oct. 28, when he was sleeping in the San Francisco home he shares with his wife.

At some point, a man entered the residence and later beat Pelosi with a hammer, causing him to sustain multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, as the New York Post noted at the time.

The New York Times reported that after he had discovered DePape on the premises, Pelosi articulated a need to use the bathroom, at which point he contacted 911 while also continuing to verbally engage with the apparently unwelcome guest.

Communication between the emergency dispatcher and a responding police unit revealed that the former said about the unfolding situation, “There's a male in the home and that he's going to wait for his wife,” adding that the person who placed the call “doesn't know who the male is, but he advised that his name is David and then [said] he is a friend,” observations that sparked additional media questions about exactly what occurred that morning.

Mystery deepens

Adding fuel to the fire among those who suspected there was more to the Pelosi attack than met the eye – and that perhaps DePape was previously known to the victim – was the fact that a report on the incident filed by a prominent correspondent from NBC's Today show – a dispatch that revealed discrepancies between the official narrative and newly discovered facts – was pulled from the air and the reporter suspended, as the New York Post reported separately.

Miguel Almaguer reported that when police arrived at the Pelosis' home in response to Paul Pelosi's call, the lawmaker's husband did not give the impression that he was in any sort of danger or distress before he was ultimately hit with a hammer.

Further, Almaguer noted, Mr. Pelosi did not “declare an emergency” or even try to leave the home, but rather walked back into the foyer of the residence, in the direction of DePape.

Those details did not entirely square with the existing mainstream media narrative of what occurred, and the network took the report offline, saying merely, “The piece should not have aired because it did not meet NBC News reporting standards,” offering no insight into how it failed to do so.

Time to come clean?

The fight to secure release of the bodycam and surveillance footage related to the attack on Paul Pelosi is not the only opportunity to achieve heightened transparency about the nebulous events of that October morning, according to media critics.

As Fox News reports, with the recent exit of NBCUniversal president Noah Oppenheim, many believe the network now has a prime chance to provide a real explanation as to why Almaguer's report on the Pelosi attack was retracted and lay bare whether it ever did contain any factual inaccuracies.

The network's new leader, former New York Times deputy managing editor Rebecca Blumenstein, is facing calls to come clean about what really prompted the public rebuke of a well-respected journalist who simply reported much of the same information that a San Francisco affiliate station also offered without attracting a similar censure.

A former senior NBC News executive opined, “Rebecca Blumenstein should hold NBC news to the higher standards of her previous employers and reveal what was 'wrong' with Miguel Almaguer's reporting on Paul Pelosi.” Otherwise, as journalism professor Jeffrey McCall explained, “viewers are left to wonder if perhaps the story was removed because it was too accurate,” and the Pelosis' reputation took precedence over honest reporting.