A San Francisco court on Thursday convicted the conspirator who attacked former Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in October 2022, just days before the US midterm elections.
• Read also: Nancy Pelosi’s husband ‘was never my target,’ claims his attacker
The jury convicted David DePape of the violent attack, during which he fractured Paul Pelosi’s skull, and also found him guilty of attempted kidnapping of Mrs. Pelosi.
The penalty, which could reach life imprisonment, must be pronounced at a later date.
At the time, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, was the third person in the American state and was regularly the target of conspiracy theories fueled by the far right.
The trial showed how Mr. Debab, a Canadian carpenter living illegally and completely isolated, was immersed in a world poisoned by misinformation before taking action.
Prosecutor Helen Gilbert said he “deliberately targeted” Nancy Pelosi “because of her work and her role in our political system.”
The 43-year-old, at times tearfully, told during the trial how he became an avid listener of far-right podcasts.
On social media, he notably shared posts claiming that American elites are corrupt and involved in the sexual exploitation of children, or that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Mr. DePape stressed that Paul Pelosi “was never my target and I am sorry he was hurt.” He said he attacked him when he realized his “plan had basically been ruined.”
By storming the Pelosi couple’s home in San Francisco with rope, gloves and duct tape, he initially wanted to attack the parliamentarian who was in Washington that day.
He admitted to investigators that he planned to “break her knees” if she did not admit to the “lies” of the Democratic Camp.
But Ms. Pelosi’s impeachment was only the first step in a larger plan, the defendant admitted in court.
His mysterious plan included other targets, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, the president’s son Hunter Biden, and actor Tom Hanks.
His defense focused on portraying a man consumed by what he believed was an anti-corruption crusade. The line that prompted Mr. Depape to plead not guilty.
Without contesting the attack, his lawyers have maintained that the attack was primarily motivated by his conspiratorial beliefs, and that he did not specifically target Ms. Pelosi in her capacity as a federal official — a factor that according to the prosecution is key to understanding both the assault and the incident. Planned kidnapping.
“Mr. Debab committed terrible things (…) and committed serious crimes that night,” his lawyer Angela Chuang admitted. “But he did not commit these crimes” because of Ms. Pelosi’s official position, she stressed.
The assault was filmed
While Mr. DePape intervened, Paul Pelosi was able to alert the police, who intervened at the last minute. The attack was filmed on the camera the officers were wearing.
Photos that the octogenarian man, who was hospitalized for about a week and underwent surgery, still refuses to see more than a year after the events.
It was very shocking. “I did everything in my power not to relive that.”
This case occurred a few days before the midterm elections, and demonstrated the seriousness of the effects of misinformation in the election campaign, as well as the deep divisions in America.
Some members of the Republican Party have mocked the attack or expressed some skepticism despite the images.
Following this federal trial, David DePape must now be tried in California courts.
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