CLAIM: The attack was a "Domestic Violence Case in a consensual sexual relationship," and the suspect was found in his underwear when police arrived at the house.
THE FACTS: No evidence has been presented to support either assertion, both of which contradict what law enforcement officials have said and what court documents describe.
In the days since the alleged assailant, identified as David DePape, 42, broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her husband with a hammer, internet users amplified these false claims that mock the victim and give credence to insidious conspiracy theories. Baseless and homophobic claims suggesting a personal relationship between Paul Pelosi and DePape have been shared by prominent figures including elected officials, conservative pundits and Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, who later deleted his post.
But San Francisco's district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, told reporters on Sunday that there was "nothing to suggest that these two men knew each other prior to this incident." She said during a press conference Monday the attack appeared to be politically motivated.
Authorities have stated that DePape broke a glass door of the home and entered with a hammer, zip ties and other supplies, intending to kidnap the Democratic lawmaker. Jenkins' office in a court filing Tuesday detailed the contents of a 911 call Pelosi made early on Oct. 28, during which Pelosi confirmed that he did not know DePape. Overhearing the call, DePape said aloud that his name was David and he was a "friend," the filing said.
Likewise, an FBI agent's affidavit reports that Pelosi in the 911 call "conveyed that he does not know who the male is" and later told a police officer in the ambulance that he had never seen DePape before. DePape told police officers that he went to the home to take Nancy Pelosi hostage, according to the affidavit, and that he viewed her as a "'leader of the pack' of lies told by the Democratic Party." Separately, the affidavit makes clear that DePape was wearing clothing at the time.
"Officers removed a cell phone, cash, clipper cards, and an unidentified card from DEPAPE's right shorts pocket," the document reads. A local news outlet reported the baseless claim that DePape was in his underwear, but it later corrected its story. Pelosi, meanwhile, was asleep in his bed on the second floor of the home when DePape entered and woke him up, according to officials. "Mr. Pelosi, who was sleeping, was wearing a loose fitting pajama shirt and boxer shorts," Jenkins, the district attorney, said Monday. DePape is facing multiple charges including attempted murder.
— Associated Press writers Angelo Fichera in Philadelphia and Ali Swenson in New York contributed this report.