A newly revealed legal filing has shown that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) served as a witness when the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) signed over power of attorney to her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
That document, which was signed in July, emerged as part of the multiple lawsuits involving the Feinstein family against the trustees of the estate of the late senator's late husband, Richard Blum.
A spokesperson for Pelosi confirmed that the San Francisco congresswoman signed her name as a witness to the handing over of power of attorney from mother to daughter but declined to provide any further details on the matter.
SFGate was the first to report on the fact that former Speaker Pelosi had served as one of two witnesses to Sen. Feinstein's transfer of legal power to her daughter.
In the legal document dated July 23, Pelosi signed and attested "under penalty of perjury" that "At the time Dianne Feinstein appeared to us to be of sound mind and memory and, to the best of our knowledge, was not acting under fraud, duress, menace, or undue influence."
That attestation from Pelosi about Feinstein's mental health status just two months before the ailing elderly senator passed away is "definitely worthy of questioning," according to Dr. Laura Mosqueda, a USC Keck School of Medicine tenured professor who specializes in elderly care.
"At the base of all of this is: Did Sen. Feinstein have the capacity to consent to this? That’s my big question," Mosqueda said and wondered if Pelosi had personally observed an assessment of Feinstein's cognitive capacity prior to signing the declaration that the senator was of "sound mind and memory."
"If [Pelosi] happened to be over there visiting Sen. Feinstein at the time when they were needing to enact this, and she was doing it as a favor because she was over there, I guess I could see it," the professor added. "You do have to do a bit of twisting in order to see it in the most positive light possible."
Indeed, there is evidence to suggest both that Sen. Feinstein was not of "sound mind and memory" in the months prior to her death as well as that former Speaker Pelosi was aware of the late senator's cognitive decline.
Feinstein herself told a reporter for the Chronicle in early September, when news of the power of attorney transfer first came to light amid the ongoing legal disputes with the Blum estate, that she "gave no permission to do anything" to anybody regarding her legal affairs.
However, the senator then acknowledged to that same reporter a short time later that "I’ve asked my daughter to handle the case. And it’s so I can focus on what I’m doing back here in Washington. It’s a difficult time for me, and so I really don’t have time for other things."
SFGate noted that questions could also be raised about the fact that former Speaker Pelosi's eldest daughter, Nancy Corinne Prowda, who became personal friends with Sen. Feinstein when their families previously lived across the street from each other in San Francisco, essentially served as Feinstein's personal caretaker and chaperone when the clearly confused and debilitated and wheelchair-bound senator returned to D.C. in May following a several month absence due to multiple health issues, according to NY Mag.
Then there are remarks from the former Speaker herself in an August interview with Politico -- just a couple of weeks after she witnessed the legal transfer of power -- and substantially downplayed and dismissed concerns about Feinstein's health and wellbeing.
"She’s doing OK, she’s doing OK," Pelosi told the reporter -- "less than convincingly," in the reporter's view -- and noted that "She’ll be able to do what she needs to do to vote and serve on the Appropriations Committee" as she proceeded to denounce a supposed "sexist double standard" in which the health of female politicians is sharply scrutinized to a far greater extent than male politicians.