David DePape took the stand on Tuesday in his federal trial, tearfully recounting his motivations for the assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. DePape, fueled by conspiracy theories and right-wing media, described his far-fetched plan to “take down” high-profile figures demonized in right-wing media. DePape admitted that he was initially biased against Trump but wanted to seek the truth. He testified that he spent hours watching political content online, mainly from conservative media outlets such as YouTube videos and podcasts from figures like Tim Pool and Glenn Beck.
Defense attorneys claimed that DePape’s attack on the Pelosis’ home was part of a broader plan to end corruption in the United States. DePape pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping and assault on a federal official’s family member, arguing that his motive was not related to Nancy Pelosi’s official duties.
On the day of the attack, DePape went to the Pelosis’ home to discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Prosecutors claim that he brought rope and zip ties with him. During the trial, Paul Pelosi testified about the attack, recalling being awakened by DePape bursting into the bedroom, asking for Nancy. Pelosi managed to call 911 while remaining calm. DePape testified that he felt remorse after hearing from a neurosurgeon who operated on Pelosi, realizing the extent of his injuries.
DePape admitted to hitting Pelosi on the head when officers arrived at the front door, stating that his plan was ruined. He clarified that he had thought Pelosi was dead until he heard the charges and expressed remorse for his actions, emphasizing that Pelosi was never his intended target. DePape’s plan involved targeting multiple figures, including Nancy Pelosi, Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, Bill Barr, Tom Hanks, Bernie Sanders, and Gavin Newsom. He hoped to coerce them into admitting to corruption and eventually receiving a pardon from President Joe Biden.
Legal experts noted that DePape’s defense was based on sympathy, with the intent to humanize him. The defense argued that DePape was a deluded individual driven by misguided beliefs. One name on DePape’s list was Dr. Gayle Rubin, identified as “Target 1,” a scholar in feminist theory and queer studies. DePape claimed that Rubin’s writings had been misconstrued to demonize the LGBTQ community. However, the judge ordered her name not to be disclosed due to threats against her.
Closing arguments and the jury’s verdict are expected in the upcoming days. If convicted, DePape faces life in prison. He has also pleaded not guilty to state charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and residential burglary.