Coverup: The Paul Pelosi Story Has Been so Thoroughly Muzzled, News Outlets Now Sue to Get Information

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP

The Paul Pelosi attack story disappeared from the news for a reason; the courts are blocking the details from getting out.

It was in late October when the dire news broke that the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been attacked in their home with a hammer. For a couple of weeks, the story raged, as conservative news outlets and loose-tongued Republicans were blamed as being the force behind the attack on Paul Pelosi. But soon, details emerged that countered the initial outrage reports, and before long, the story began to rapidly fade from news cycles.

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Suddenly, it went from being the story reporters could not shut up about to the story no one was allowed to discuss. At NBC News, a report about the night of the attack was taken down entirely, with the reporter suspended as their story was memory-holed. At the Washington Post, columnist Philip Bump forgot that he was a journalist as he delivered a screed that explained why we should not want to have the footage and other evidence from that night released to the public. 

By December, the story had all but vanished, and this was despite the fact that there was a preliminary hearing on the 14th of last month, as the San Francisco DA brought up charges against David Depape, the man accused of attacking Pelosi. During that hearing, a raft of evidence was brought forward, including police body cam footage, tapes of the 911 call, interview details taken from the scene that night, and video from the security system monitored by the Capitol Police in D.C.

None of these particulars have been made available to the public, or the press. As a result, a number of news organizations have come together to file a court motion to have those items revealed. Philip Bump might be interested to learn his own paper is working to defy his insistence that this evidence remain hidden.

A coalition of news organizations, including The Associated Press, filed a court motion in San Francisco seeking access to evidence against the man charged in last year’s attack on former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. The coalition also includes 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, an NPR-member radio station.

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That a dozen outlets are banding together to get this access is a sign of how unique it has been to have these particulars held back from the public. It is a clear sign of controlled messaging taking place from a higher position. Just take as one item that police officers being outfitted with body cameras was pushed in order to have greater transparency with the public. This is footage intended to be revealed, and yet we are seeing it completely blocked from being released.

The preeminent question in the face of this is, of course, “Why?” Even given the sensitive nature of things, you would expect that if this were as clear a crime as we’re led to believe, there would be no need for this level of obfuscation. The argument of this being a public official and that personal or sensitive details might be revealed in the footage from inside the home is mitigated by having editing done or aspects of the video blurred out. 

What justification would there be to prevent the 911 call recording from being shared? Why can we not see the police interview with Depape from that night? It becomes a question of whether there is any form of a cover-up taking place, feeding only more speculation and creating more curiosity. The very fact that such a group of news outlets is banding together to get the details released dispels claims that this is conspiracy theory rantings. 

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This filing also shows a bit of an evolution on the part of the news outlets. After weeks of showing a willingness to sit on this story, major news divisions are beginning to fight to get the facts revealed. It will be compelling to see just how long this effort at obscuring the details will last.

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