David DePape, who faces federal charges in the 2022 San Francisco burglary to kidnap former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told a court how he fell under the sway of right-wing conspiracy theories online.
Mr. DePape was caught on police body camera attacking Ms. Pelosi's husband, Paul, with a hammer in October 2022, leaving him with serious injuries.
On the stand Tuesday, the alleged kidnapper described watching conservative podcasters on YouTube and believing in a conspiracy fueled by QAnon that elites were abusing children and that “it was all lies coming from the press” about Donald Trump, according to the CNN.
He also described the moment police arrived at the couple's San Francisco mansion and realized “his plan was ruined.”
“Things were going really well until the last second,” he reportedly said The San Francisco Chronicleadding later that he “feared” he might have killed Mr. Pelosi in the attack.
The Canadian pleaded not guilty to the charges against him – attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assaulting a family member of a federal official – with his lawyers arguing that the attack was not related to Ms. Pelosi's position in Congress, but to an admittedly “strange » QAnon-style delusion involving numerous high-profile figures such as Tom Hanks and California Governor Gavin Newsom.
“What matters is what brought David to this house — what David believed and what David intended,” attorney Jodi Linker said last week. “This is not unique.”
Earlier this week, Mr. Pelosi himself testified.
“I have not discussed this incident with anyone,” Mr. Pelosi, who was left with severe head injuries after the attack, said on the stand Monday, according to KRON. “I tried to put it out of my mind. I did my best not to experience it again.”
“It's over for me, I'm going to have to get you out,” Mr DePape described him as saying during the break-in.
Federal officials say the charges are justified.
“It was a brutal plan — a plan to kidnap Nancy Pelosi to hold her hostage, to break her knees, to teach her a lesson,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Vartain Horne told the court at the start of the trial, arguing that the Depapp saw Ms. Pelosi as “evil, a liar and ringleader” of a group of high-profile figures who co-opt a conspiracy theory that led to the attack.