The man on trial for bludgeoning Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home with a hammer truly believed he was trying to save the world from a secret cabal of high-profile pedophiles, his defense attorney told a San Francisco court Thursday.
At the opening of the federal trial against David DePape his legal team said they won’t dispute that he hit Pelosi — an incident caught on police bodycam — but they would explain he was motivated by internet conspiracy theories that the “liberal ruling class” spread lies and abused children.
Defense attorney Jodi Linker told jurors: “This is not a ‘whodunnit’, but what the government fails to acknowledge is the ‘why-dunnit’. And the why matters. The why is what makes this a federal case.”
DePape faces two charges; attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official in retaliation for performance of their duties.
Linker said the defense will show DePape’s decision to break into the Pelosi home had nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi’s top position in Congress at the time, but was instead part of a larger plan to attack a list of people for reasons based on baseless conspiracies he had read.
Giving examples of easily disproved falsehoods DePape apparently believed after reading them on the fringes of the internet, Linker explained: “Tom Hanks, the actor, raped a 13-year-old girl. [Calif. rep] Adam Schiff abuses children.”
She also detailed how DePape felt “Nancy Pelosi is a culture warrior, the face of the Democratic Party. Her armory is the Democratic National Committee and her weapon is the mainstream media.
“Members of the jury, many of us do not believe any of that. You may think it is all lies, but the evidence in this trial will show that Mr. DePape believes all these things… with every ounce of his being.”
DePape had posted rants on a blog and an online forum about subjects including aliens, communists, religious minorities and global elites.
He also echoed the baseless, right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory which claims the US government is run by a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles.
Putting forth their opening statements, prosecutors said DePape, 43, broke into the home shortly after 2 a.m., but only found Paul Pelosi since Nancy was in Washington DC.
Paul Pelosi managed to call 911 and told a dispatcher, “This gentleman just came into the house and wants to wait here until my wife comes home and, anyway, he’s telling me to put the phone down.”
Two San Francisco Police officers responded to the call, and when Paul Pelosi answered the door, DePape attacked the 83-year old with a hammer.
During her opening statement, federal prosecutor Laura Vartain Horn held up the hammer— which was zipped in a plastic bag— in front of jurors.
The attack was captured by the cops’ body-worn cameras. Jurors on Thursday were shown photos of Paul Pelosi lying in a pool of his own blood, according to KQED.
Horn also showed jurors a “fact sheet,” which she said contained details about Nancy Pelosi and her family, including various addresses that FBI investigators pulled from DePape’s computer.
Horn said the FBI investigators also found a folder in the computer marked “favorite politicians” that had names of other high-profile individuals DePape also was tracking.
In an interview with police, DePape confessed to attacking Paul Pelosi, telling the officer, “I’m not trying to get away with this. I know exactly what I did.”
He told the cops he wanted to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps because she had wronged the “entire American public” by “submitting fake evidence to spy on [Trump’s] rival campaign.”
DePape faces life in prison for two felony counts, including attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.
Paul Pelosi, who suffered fractures to his skull from the attack, is expected to testify during the federal trial.
DePape is also facing an attempted murder charge in a separate state case. He also has pleaded not guilty to that charge.
With Post wires