FACT CHECK: Did Paul Pelosi Refer To His Attacker As A Friend?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on Instagram purports Paul Pelosi referred to David DePape, the man charged in the attack on the House Speaker’s husband in October 2022, as a friend in a 911 call.  

Verdict: Misleading

While a dispatcher did make the quote, reports suggest that DePape, not Pelosi, told the dispatcher this. There is no evidence suggesting Pelosi had known or seen DePape prior to the attack.

Fact Check: 

NBC News recently retracted a report on the Paul Pelosi attack after information that was used was deemed unreliable, according to CNN. A range of conspiracy theories around the attack have been pushed heavily by right-wing politicians and influencers, The New York Times reports.

The Instagram photo shows a black text on a bright yellow background. “His name is David, and he’s a friend,” the text reads. There is no accreditation for the quote other than the account’s (@pilsners_and_politics) own handle to take credit for the image.

The caption attributes the quote to Pelosi, “This story has gotten extremely weird,” the post’s caption reads. “911 recordings show that Paul Pelosi may have known the attacker. He seemingly refers to the “attacker” as a friend…..”

Newly-released audio from a dispatch call in relation to the incident does show a dispatcher did make the quote seen in the Instagram photo. However, a motion from the case claims that DePape, not Pelosi, remarked that he was a friend. At no point in the motion does Pelosi refer to DePape as a friend.

Pelosi told police that he had never seen DePape before while in the ambulance to the hospital, according to The Associated Press. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins stated they have no reason to believe the Pelosi and DePape knew each other, PBS reported.

“We do not have any evidence that shows that the victim knew the suspect,” the San Francisco Police Department confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management could not provide a comment due to the case’s ongoing investigation. (RELATED: Was Paul Pelosi’s Attacker At The Jan. 6 Riot?)

This is not the first spread of misinformation surrounding Paul Pelosi’s attacker. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim Pelosi’s attacker was present at and filmed the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots in 2021.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter