Jury selection began on Monday in the federal trial of David DePape, 43, who is accused of breaking into the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and brutally assaulting her husband Paul with a hammer in October 2022.
Mr DePape is charged with attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family of a federal official.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Around 100 potential jurors filed into federal court on Monday.
The potential jury pool, which will be narrowed down to 12 people and two alternates, reportedly contained students and employees of X, the social media network formerly known as Twitter.
The group was asked about their prior knowledge of the break-in at the Pelosis’ Pacific Heighs mansion, which Mr DePape told police was a “suicide mission” by the defendant to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, force her to take back statements about Donald Trump, and lure out an as-of-yet unidentified victim.
The pool was also asked about whether they felt they could remain impartial given the media attention to the trial, and whether they held any opinions about former speaker Pelosi and her business dealings.
One juror, likely to be ruled out, reportedly told attorneys that Paul Pelosi – who was beaten with a hammer and injured in the skull, arms, and legs – “deservered harsh treatment.”
Two others alleged the Pelosis had used “special privileges” for financial gain.
"The reality is, San Francisco has a wide variety of people who are for and against that family in general," defence attorney Adam Gasner told ABC7 News. "What we really fear is that people will hide those views and say they can be fair when they really can’t."
Opening statements are expected for Thursday, and Mr Pelosi is expected to testify during the course of the trial. The case is expected to last until mid-next week.
In court, Mr DePape, who was allegedly found by police with a backpack, zip ties, a roll of tape, and gloves, sat quietly and didn’t say anything, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
During the October 2022 break-in, Mr DePape allegedly asked Paul Pelosi where his wife was.
Mr Pelosi, 82, managed to surreptitiously call 911.
Officers arrived and found the men struggling with the hammer, with Mr DePape eventually wresting control of the tool and using it bludgeon Mr Pelosi, according to body camera footage.
The alleged assailant is also facing six charges in a case from San Francisco prosecutors over the alleged kidnapping attempt, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
The 42-year-old appeared to have published a subscription-based blog where he expressed a range of transphobic, antisemitic and racist views, alongside conspiracy theories tied to Covid-19 and QAnon, among others, according to posts reviewed by The Independent.
This article was amended on 9 November 2023. It previously inaccurately stated that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been called as a witness and would testify in the trial. She has not been called.