In what was a fairly open-and-shut case, admitted Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape was convicted on federal charges Thursday morning after the jury had deliberated for just a matter of a few hours.
Following a brief trial in U.S. District Court that lasted just four days, 43-year-old David DePape faces his first conviction stemming from the October 28, 2022 assault he admitted to committing in the Pelosi home in Pacific Heights. The jury was unanimous in finding DePape guilty of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting the family member of a federal official, as the New York Times reports.
Both charges came with language relating to the disruption of a federal official's government duties, and it was through that narrow angle that DePape's assigned defense attorney tried to argue his innocence. Federal public defender Jodi Linker sought to characterize DePape's actions as being motivated by falsehoods he had consumed on the internet which he fully believed — and therefore he wasn't motivated by politics or to disrupt Nancy Pelosi's federal duties per se, and therefore this wasn't a federal crime.
"He didn’t go to that house because of anything [Nancy Pelosi] did as speaker of the House,” said Angela Chuang, another federal public defender representing DePape, per the Times. "He went there to root out the corruption of the ruling class."
The argument was strained at best, and in a final Hail Mary, DePape took the stand himself on Tuesday.
He rattled off the names of podcasters and YouTubers whom he listened to, and who convinved him that Pelosi was involved in the QAnon-inspired conspiracy involving pedophiles at the highest levels of government. "If there’s truth out there that I don’t know, I want to know it," DePape said, at times getting emotional on the stand.
He also expressed remorse for having harmed Paul Pelosi, something that he said he did in a split-second because his larger plan was falling apart as police arrived at the home.
As the Times notes, Paul Pelosi recounted in his own testimony Monday how he had surreptitiously called 911 from his bathroom, and then suggested to DePape, who had said he wanted to wait for Nancy to return home and that he was feeling tired, "Why don’t we go downstairs. And you can tie me up there and we can go to sleep." Pelosi said he hoped that police would arrive soon, and being downstairs they would be in closer proximity to the front door.
In another bizarre new detail that came out at the trial, per the Times, DePape brought along an inflatable unicorn costume that he planned to wear while he questioned Nancy Pelosi — like some sort of twisted performance art piece?
When police arrived, they found DePape and Pelosi, who was wearing no pants and a pajama top, standing in the foyer and both gripping a hammer that DePape had brought along, purportedly to break Nancy's kneecaps. DePape seized the hammer while police were asking questions at the door and violently struck the 83-year-ild Pelosi on the head, causing a traumatic brain injury from which he is still recovering.
The jury in the trial entered deliberations Wednesday afternoon, and by Thursday morning had reached their verdict. He faces a potential life sentence.
Next, DePape's state trial is likely to be scheduled at his next hearing in San Francisco Superior Court, which is happening on November 29. He faces a slew of state charges including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse.