The man accused of attacking the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., with a hammer apologized Tuesday, telling jurors he went to the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco as part a bigger plot to end what he viewed as government corruption.
David DePape spoke for more than an hour in which he tearfully recounted about how his political leanings went from leftist to right wing after reading a comment on a YouTube video about former President Donald Trump. He said he bludgeoned Paul Pelosi, 83, after realizing his larger plan might be unraveling.
Testimony wrapped up later Tuesday, with closing arguments expected Wednesday. DePape has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official with intent to retaliate against the official for performance of their duties. His attorneys argued he was not seeking to go after Nancy Pelosi because of her official duties as a member of Congress and so the charges do not fit.
The attack happened in the early hours of Oct. 28, 2022, just days before the midterm elections.
DePape, 43, said he went to the Pelosis’ home to talk to Nancy Pelosi, 83, about Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and he planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and upload his interrogation of her online. Prosecutors said he had rope and zip ties with him.
DePape testified that his plan was to get Nancy Pelosi and other targets to admit to their corruption. “If she lied, I would break her kneecaps,” he said. “The choice is on her.”
He then wanted President Joe Biden to pardon the targets “so we can move forward as a country,” he said.
In testimony Monday, Paul Pelosi recounted the attack publicly for the first time. He recalled being awakened by a man bursting into the bedroom door and asking, “Where’s Nancy?” He said that when he responded that his wife was in Washington, DePape said he would tie him up while they waited for her.
Paul Pelosi said he managed to call police, but when officers arrived, DePape hit him with a hammer. He said DePape told him he was going to have “to take you out.”
DePape said he felt bad for Paul Pelosi after hearing testimony from a neurosurgeon who operated on him after the attack and testified Pelosi had two wounds on his head, including a fracture to his skull that had to be mended with plates and screws. Pelosi also needed stitches on injuries to his right arm and hand.
“He was never my target and I’m sorry that he got hurt,” DePape said.
“I reacted because my plan was basically ruined,” he said when asked why he hit Pelosi.
DePape testified he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about Trump, and specifically mentioned CNN. He allegedly told authorities his other targets included a women’s and queer studies professor at the University of Michigan, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Other witnesses who testified Tuesday included Daniel Bernal, Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco chief of staff, and DePape neighbor Elizabeth Yates, who said she allowed him to shower at her home once a week.
If convicted, DePape faces life in prison. He has pleaded not guilty to charges in state court of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, and other felonies. A state trial has not been scheduled.
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