The trial of David DePape, the 43-year-old Canadian man who broke into Nancy Pelosi's home and attacked her husband with a hammer, began yesterday in California. Mr. Pelosi was hospitalized for six days with a skull fracture and DePape was charged with attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assaulting a federal official's family member. DePape can expect a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty, and also faces state charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, threats to a public official and more.
Officers asked Mr DePape to drop the weapon, to which he replied "ummm nope," before he "swung the hammer abruptly and forcefully at Mr Pelosi", according to court documents.
Body camera footage later released showed the encounter between Mr DePape, Mr Pelosi and police.
Mr DePape told police at the scene that he was sick of the "lies coming out of Washington DC".
He told police in an interview after his arrest that he had a "target list" which included Ms Pelosi, and that he planned to hold her hostage and break "her kneecaps" if she did not tell the "truth".
The case was remarkable for the immediate and contrived conspiracy theories pushed by conservatives over the attack, claiming that it was a homosexual hookup gone awry, that DePape was an Antifa member, and edging as close to supporting the attack as they could legally risk. They successfully drowned an extremely alarming event–a attempt to kill the then-House Speaker's husband as part of an attempt to victimize her–in trivializing, justifing lies. Among those pushing the conspiracy theory were numerous Republican politicians and Elon Musk.
DePape is, in fact, a right-wing Trump supporter, deep into MAGA conspiracy theories over vote-rigging, climate change, and the Covid pandemic, a man who posted antisemitic rants online and maintained a hit list offline. Moreover, his legal strategy is to admit all this.
Defense attorney Jodi Linker said the defense team would not dispute the government's video evidence of the attack that fractured Paul Pelosi's skull and DePape's other actions that night, but told jurors they would learn it was the result of a misguided crusade against what he perceived as a corrupt ruling class that needed to be taken down.
Linker's opening remarks referenced a litany of right-wing and QAnon-inspired beliefs about a sinister cabal of government officials and elites – Pelosi, Congressman Adam Schiff, George Soros, Hunter Biden, Tom Hanks, Gov. Gavin Newsom – using wealth and power to spread lies and send the country into ruin.
"Members of the jury, many of us do not believe any of that," said Linker. "But the evidence in this trial will show that Mr. DePape believes all these things … with every ounce of his being."