Tearful attacker says Paul Pelosi ‘was never my target’
SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP)— The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer last year told a California jury Tuesday that the former US House speaker’s husband “was never my target and I’m sorry he got hurt,” US media said.
David DePape entered the Pelosi home in San Francisco at the end of October 2022, a few days before the midterm elections, wielding rope, gloves, duct tape and a small sledge hammer.
DePape, who faces possible life in prison if convicted of assault and kidnapping, detailed his conspiracy beliefs in the courtroom.
He cried several times on the stand as he detailed his view of the world, several US media outlets said.
DePape explained that he listened to right-wing podcasts and believed in conspiracy theories, including that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were carried out by the US government itself and that a pedophilia network supplies the political elite.
During the attack, DePape is accused of grabbing a hammer and hitting Paul Pelosi, 83, in the head, fracturing his skull.
His initial plan was to target Nancy Pelosi, and on encountering her husband kept asking, “Where’s Nancy?”
Paul Pelosi managed to alert the police, and officers captured the assault on body cams.
“I reacted because my plan was basically ruined,” DePape said of the alleged attack.
Paul Pelosi “appeared to be genuinely remorseful about the corruption in (Washington) DC,” DePape testified, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We had a really good rapport… Things were going pretty good until the very last second.”
At the time, Democrat Nancy Pelosi was second in line to the presidency and a regular target of far-right conspiracy theories.
DePape, a Canadian citizen, said he hoped to attack others, including a feminist academic whom he accused of turning US schools into “pedophile molestation factories” and destroying children’s sense of identity, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Other personalities the defendant admitted wanting to attack included California Governor Gavin Newsom, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and actor Tom Hanks.
DePape has pleaded not guilty. His defense admits the assault, but disputes that he specifically intended to attack Nancy Pelosi (or her husband) as a federal official — a key factor for the prosecution.
In addition to the federal trial, DePape faces a separate trial on state charges for the attack.