Suspect in attack on Paul Pelosi believes in conspiracies but did not try to kidnap Speaker of the House of Representatives, lawyer says

FILE – David DePape, right, records Gypsy Taub’s nude wedding outside City Hall on December 1. 19, 2013, in San Francisco. DePape, who was already in custody in last month’s attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, on charges of assault and attempted kidnapping. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)
(Eric Risberg/AP)

Suspect in attack on Paul Pelosi believes in conspiracies but did not try to kidnap Speaker of the House of Representatives, lawyer says

California politics, homepage news, mental health

Hannah Wiley

November 9, 2023

Lawyers for the man accused of bashing the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer last year told jurors Thursday they recognized their client committed a crime and “bizarre” far-right conspiracy theories, but they disputed federal charges that he had tried to do so. to kidnap the congressman and attack Paul Pelosi in connection therewith


her official duties.

A man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi and fueling right-wing conspiracies faces a jury in San Francisco

In a lengthy opening argument, federal public defender Jodi Linker said David DePape, 43, broke into the Pelosis’ home in the early morning of October. August 28, 2022, as part of a broader plan to end corruption, human trafficking, child abuse and other issues

violations of atrocities

he believed they were perpetrated by the upper echelons of the Democratic Party, including Nancy Pelosi and elected officials such as Rep. Adam Schiff and Gov. Gavin Newsom, and public figures such as actor Tom Hanks and billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

“Jurors, many of us don’t believe that.

We think it’s fake,” Linker said. “You may think it’s all lies, damaging lies that are actually destroying the country. … But the evidence in this trial will show that Mr. DePape believes these things, he believes them with every ounce of his being. He firmly and completely believes in them and it is these beliefs, which have absolutely nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi’s official duties to Congress, that prompted him to act that evening.”

DePape’s ideas, whether true or not, Linker explained to the jury of three women and twelve men:

including three alternates,

prompted his plan to “stop the wealthy elite, protect children, end the lies and reveal the truth.”

“And in this court, these convictions matter on these two charges,” she added, because the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that DePape acted in response to Nancy Pelosi’s official duties.

“That’s absolutely not why he did it,” Linker said.

Assistant. Assistant

U.S. Atty. Laura Vartain Horn told the federal court jury that DePape spent months gathering information about the Pelosi family on the Internet. He traveled from the East Bay to the couple’s home in San Francisco with plans to take Nancy Pelosi “hostage.”


“break her kneecaps” and “teach her a lesson,” she said in her opening argument.

“When the defendant broke into the speakers’ house, he had a plan,” Horn said, using the large wooden-handled hammer, kept in a plastic bag, to make her argument. “It was a violent plan.”

Accused Pelosi attacker David DePape spread QAnon and other far-right, bigoted conspiracies

I couldn’t find Nancy Pelosi that morning,


Horn said DePape “unleashed his violence closest to the speaker.”

DePape faces a total of 50 years in prison for attempting to kidnap the former Speaker and assaulting Paul Pelosi with the intent to interfere with legislative official duties or take revenge on her. He also faces state charges

including span of

assault with a deadly weapon,


elder abuse, burglary and threats against a civil servant and his family.

DePape was in the courtroom


Thursday and had his traded


orange prison jumpsuit in front of a blue sweater and collared shirt, his hair tied in his signature low ponytail. His ex-partner, Gypsy Taub, and their two sons watched from the gallery, while the Pelosis’ daughter, Christine Pelosi, sat

at the back in the distance

of the courtroom.

Much of the trial will focus on an unnamed woman listed as Target 1, who was described in court as an anthropologist and professor of queer studies at the University of Michigan. DePape planned to use Nancy Pelosi to “bait” Target 1, said Linker, whose investigation

and work

about feminism, pornography and gender roles that he believed were causing harm to children.

“The evidence will show that he had a much bigger plan and that the stop on the Pelosis was just the first stop in that plan,” Linker said.

What “foiled” his bigger plan, she added, was when police arrived at the house. Paul Pelosi had called 911 after DePape broke into the house



where we fought for control of the grazing lands

hammer when officers knocked on the front door.

Police ordered them to drop the gun, but DePape forced it from Pelosi and hit the 82-year-old man in the head.

according to

several officer body camera videos shown in court



“At that point he reacted impulsively and ripped the hammer out of Mr. Pelosi’s hand and he hit him,” Linker said, not because he had a bigger plan of attack, but “because [Paul Pelosi] was the one standing there at that moment.”

Prosecutors called

as witnesses

three officers who responded to the 911 call

that evening as witnesses

, along with Lt. Carla Hurley, who interviewed DePape from his hospital bed while he was being treated for a dislocated shoulder and other injuries. Hurley described parts of the interview in which DePape dabbles in conspiracies

in return for

Hillary Clinton, the Watergate


scandal and Democrats stealing the election from former President Trump because they were “so shocking, so disturbing,” prompting her to ask about his mental health history.

Despite public questions about DePape’s mental capabilities, his attorneys are not expected to make that argument at trial.

At one point in the interview, DePape said his plan was to question Nancy Pelosi. If she admitted to his plots, he would let her go. If she didn’t, he would break her kneecaps, and she would have to drive herself to Congress, where other lawmakers could see the consequences as an example.


to be the ‘most evil’ people on earth.

“I’m not sick. I knew exactly what I was doing,” he said.

Certain police body camera footage, along with the 911 call,


surveillance video of DePape breaking into the house and the police interview after his arrest,

were some

already widely published prior to the trial and repeated to the jury on Thursday.

Graphic video of attack on Paul Pelosi, suspect’s confession to police released

Jurors also saw two photos of Paul Pelosi on the wooden floor of his foyer


in a pool of his own blood. Video footage captured what prosecutors said


Pelosi’s “agonal breathing,” or what one officer described as the body trying to push oxygen to the brain in a

last try as last chance

to stay alive.


In another police body camera video taken shortly after the crime, DePape appears to offer a confession.

“I’m sick of the crazy f


level of lies coming out of Washington, DC,” he told the officers. “I didn’t really want to hurt him, but you know, this was a suicide mission, and you know, with the s-


that’s going on inside


f Washington, DC, I’m not just going to stand here and do nothing.

“If you need proof, the proof is there,” he said


. “There’s no denying what I did. The police saw me do it.”


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