December 2, 2023

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ | Related Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The person accused of breaking into former Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco dwelling, bludgeoning her husband with a hammer and in search of to kidnap her goes on trial Thursday.

Opening statements are scheduled within the federal trial of David DePape who prosecutors say assaulted then-82-year-old Paul Pelosi, sending shockwaves by means of the political world simply days earlier than final 12 months’s midterm elections. The assault within the early hours of Oct. 28, 2022, additionally highlighted how conspiracy theories and misinformation that unfold on-line can gasoline political violence.

DePape pleaded not responsible to tried kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the quick member of the family of a federal official. Paul Pelosi is predicted to testify subsequent week.

Within the courtroom Thursday have been Christine Pelosi, one of many Pelosis’ daughters, in addition to Gypsy Taub, DePape’s ex-girlfriend, and Taub’s and DePape’s two teenage sons. Taub referred to as DePape’s title softly and blew a kiss, and he smiled and waved in return. DePape wore khaki pants and a navy blue shirt and was restrained.

DePape posted rants on a weblog and an internet discussion board about aliens, communists, non secular minorities, and world elites. He questioned the outcomes of the 2020 election and echoed the baseless, right-wing QAnon conspiracy concept that claims the U.S. authorities is run by a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles. The web sites have been taken down shortly after his arrest.

A Canadian citizen, DePape moved to the USA greater than 20 years in the past after falling in love with Taub, a Berkeley pro-nudity activist well-known within the Bay Space, his stepfather, Gene DePape stated. Lately, David DePape had been homeless and scuffling with drug abuse and psychological sickness, Taub informed native media.

Federal prosecutors say DePape smashed his shoulder by means of a glass panel on a door behind the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights mansion and confronted a sleeping Paul Pelosi, who was carrying boxer shorts and a pajama high.

“The place’s Nancy? The place’s Nancy?” DePape requested, standing over Paul Pelosi round 2 a.m. holding a hammer and zip ties, in line with court docket data. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington and underneath the safety of her safety element, which doesn’t lengthen to members of the family.

Paul Pelosi referred to as 911 and two San Francisco Cops confirmed up and witnessed DePape strike Paul Pelosi within the head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious, court docket data confirmed.

Nancy Pelosi’s husband of 60 years later underwent surgical procedure to restore a cranium fracture and accidents to his proper arm and arms.

After his arrest, DePape, 43, allegedly informed a San Francisco detective that he needed to carry Nancy Pelosi hostage. He stated that if she informed him the reality, he would let her go and if she lied, he was going to “break her kneecaps” to point out different members of Congress there have been “penalties to actions,” in line with prosecutors.

A backpack DePape was carrying had tape and a rope, along with zip ties, in line with police.

The assault was captured on the officers’ physique cameras. U.S. District Decide Jacqueline Scott Corley dominated final month that the jury will probably be allowed to see footage that exhibits Paul Pelosi in a pool of his personal blood struggling to breathe and the law enforcement officials making an attempt to cease the bleeding. Angela Chuang, one among DePape’s federal public defenders, had argued that the stunning footage could be prejudicial to her consumer.

Corley additionally dominated jurors can hearken to parts of a 5-minute name DePape made in January to a tv reporter through which he repeated conspiracy theories.

“Freedom and liberty isn’t dying, it’s being killed systematically and intentionally,” he stated.

“The tree of liberty wants watering. He wants males of valor, patriots prepared to place their very own lives on the road to face in opposition to tyranny,” he added.

Katherine Keneally, a senior researcher on the nonprofit Institute for Strategic Dialogue, stated the assault is an instance of accelerating on-line hate, conspiracies and false narratives influencing political violence.

“This didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Keneally stated.

Keneally stated individuals who commit such conspiracy-fueled acts of violence typically are scuffling with psychological well being or different life crises, such because the loss of life of a member of the family or a divorce.

“I can’t consider a single case the place somebody engaged in violent conduct the place they have been solely influenced by the conspiracy concept,” she stated.

DePape, who lived in a storage within the Bay Space metropolis of Richmond and had been doing odd carpentry jobs to help himself, allegedly informed authorities he had different targets, together with a girls’s and queer research professor, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

A kind of targets is included within the protection’s quick witness listing, although their title has been redacted. The opposite attainable witnesses are DePape, Nancy Pelosi’s chief of employees, Daniel Bernal, extremism and antisemitism researcher Elizabeth Yates, and federal public defender Catherine Goulet.

The prosecution’s listing of potential witnesses accommodates 15 names, together with the surgeon who operated on Paul Pelosi, federal brokers, San Francisco law enforcement officials and a number of other first responders.

If convicted, DePape faces life in jail. He was additionally charged in state court docket with tried homicide, assault with a lethal weapon, elder abuse, residential housebreaking and different felonies. He pleaded not responsible to these costs. A state trial has not been scheduled.