Federal Trial Set to Begin for Man Charged With Assaulting Paul Pelosi. What You Have to Know

DePape’s alleged act of political violence final 12 months adopted a gradual drumbeat of villainization in opposition to Pelosi in nationwide right-wing media, and there are issues that the suspect, who seems to have been motivated by his perception in far-right conspiracy theories, might flip the witness stand right into a pulpit to evangelize his beliefs.

DePape’s attorneys, who’re federal public defenders, have tried to maintain their courtroom technique a secret. Nonetheless, in line with pretrial motions, they don’t intend to argue madness. There’s even an opportunity DePape could take the stand.

The damning proof in opposition to DePape consists of surveillance video of him breaking into the Pelosi house and police body-camera video of him attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer. After his arrest, DePape instructed officers he supposed to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, the primary among the many a number of public figures he deliberate to focus on. Police discovered zip ties, a roll of duct tape, rope and gloves in his backpack.

‘Message of extremism’

However DePape and his authorized workforce could not care about successful a not-guilty verdict, Loyola Regulation College professor Laurie Levenson instructed KQED.

“His biggest objective could also be to unfold his message of extremism,” she stated.

The trial comes at a possible price to at the least one secret witness, one other of DePape’s alleged targets whose security might be in danger if requested to testify, the witness’s lawyer has argued.

U.S. District Decide Jacqueline Scott Corley dominated just lately that an unnamed particular person, referred to in courtroom paperwork as “Goal 1,” might be compelled to testify. Goal 1 is recognized in a federal indictment as a excessive precedence on DePape’s record of targets — the particular person whom he allegedly sought to lure by first taking Nancy Pelosi hostage.

In San Francisco Superior Court docket final 12 months, a San Francisco police lieutenant stated DePape’s goal record included Gov. Gavin Newsom, Hunter Biden (President Joe Biden’s son), actor Tom Hanks and intercourse and gender-theory tutorial Gayle Rubin.

Corley additionally permitted federal prosecutors to make use of audio of a Jan. 27 telephone name DePape made out of his jail cell to an area TV information reporter. In the course of the name, DePape apologized for failing in his alleged plans to focus on authorities officers.

“The tree of liberty wants watering,” he stated. “We want males of valor, patriots keen to place their very own lives on the road to face in opposition to tyranny.”

That message has a receptive viewers in an ever-growing group of conspiracy theorists, stated Rachel Goldwasser, an analyst for the Southern Poverty Regulation Middle. DePape’s trial, she stated, might provoke folks already sympathetic to QAnon and comparable anti-government views.

“I believe the most important concern is that people who find themselves following it with a conspiratorial view turn out to be angrier and much more hostile towards Nancy Pelosi, her household and different politicians as nicely,” Goldwasser stated. “The threats have gone up rather a lot in the previous couple of years, and it doesn’t appear like they’re going to cut back any time quickly.”

Radicalized in recent times

DePape didn’t at all times site visitors in conspiracy theories.

His one-time girlfriend, the nudist Gypsy Taub, who just lately served time for trying to abduct a minor, instructed the San Francisco Chronicle that DePape “didn’t know something about politics” after they met in Hawaii in 2000. Solely later did a mix of psychological sickness and drug use trigger him to lose grip on actuality, she stated.

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