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David DePape convicted of 5 state charges in hammer attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband

Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

David DePape, the conspiracy theorist who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, with a hammer and plotted to interrogate the former House speaker on video, was convicted Friday of state charges related to the assault.

A jury found DePape guilty of five felony counts in state court, according to several news outlets. The charges resulted from an attack that investigators described as the beginning of a planned “rampage” to go after high-profile targets, including actor Tom Hanks and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

He was convicted of imprisonment, residential burglary, threatening a family member of a public official, attempting to sway a witness and aggravated kidnapping. The verdict comes seven months after he was found guilty of federal charges in the attack.

DePape’s social media accounts, and interviews with friends and former co-workers, detail how he began to descend into baseless right-wing conspiracy theories. He wrote blog posts about several discredited conspiracy theories, including those popularly known as “Pizzagate” and “QAnon,” which posited large sexual abuse rings run by Hollywood and Democratic Party figures.

San Francisco Assistant Dist. Atty. Phoebe Maffei argued during the trial that DePape targeted Nancy Pelosi because of her role as House speaker at the time, making her second in line for the presidency, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. She was not home during the break-in.

“We haven’t seen anybody make a plan to break into the home of one of our national leaders, hold hostage and nearly kill that person’s spouse,” Maffei told jurors, according to the Chronicle. “Thankfully this is unusual. But it’s what happened.”

In November, DePape was convicted in federal court of attempting to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and assaulting her husband. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Attorneys with the San Francisco public defender’s office, which represented DePape, successfully sought to have several charges against him dismissed in the state case, arguing that they were similar to those he had been convicted of in federal court.

In response, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman tossed out the counts of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Defense attorneys argued that the state’s double jeopardy law prohibits defendants from being tried more than once on the same crime.


In his closing arguments, Public Defender Adam Lipson argued that his client might be guilty of false imprisonment, residential burglary and attempting to sway a witness. But, he told jurors, DePape should not be convicted of aggravated kidnapping and threatening a family member of a public official, the Chronicle reported.

Lipson reportedly argued that DePape’s threats were not specific to Pelosi’s role as House speaker, but rather to find and reach other targets.

Conspiracy theories continued to play a role as the state trial came to a close this week.

On Tuesday, Dorfman barred DePape’s former partner from the courtroom and second floor of the building, the Associated Press reported. The decision came after Gypsy Taub, a nudism activist, handed out fliers outside the courtroom with links to her website, which promotes a series of conspiracy theories.

The day Dorfman kicked her out of the second floor, the address for Taub’s website was spotted on a wall and on a toilet paper dispenser in a women’s bathroom at the courthouse.

Dorfman accused Taub of “trying to corruptly influence one or more jury members” and instructed bailiffs to escort her out.


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