The man who violently attacked Paul Pelosi now appears to be trying to get off of the hook by claiming that conspiracy theories are to blame for his actions.
Defendant David DePape's attorney, according to the Associated Press, made it clear that this will be one of DePape's key defenses in the trial that began this past week.
Per the outlet:
The man accused of bludgeoning former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer was caught up in conspiracies when he broke into her San Francisco home last year, his defense attorney said as his trial opened Thursday.
The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2022, which was just before the 2022 midterm elections. It began with DePape breaking into Pelosi's home, and it ended with DePape hitting the 82-year-old Pelosi in the head with a hammer, after the police had responded to the scene.
DePape has been charged, according to the Associated Press, with "attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official with intent to retaliate against the official for performance of their duties."
The federal official, of course, is former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the wife of Paul Pelosi. The belief is that DePape was really targeting Nancy Pelosi, not her husband.
DePape has pled not guilty to the charges.
This past week, the trial began. And, DePape's attorney - Jodi Linker - made it clear that DePape will not be disputing his attack on Paul Pelosi. Rather, DePape will be disputing his motivations for the attack, claiming that he did not have the mental state necessary to commit the alleged crimes.
"This is not a ‘whodunit.’ But what the government fails to acknowledge is the ‘whydunit,’ and the why matters in this case," Linker said in court.
So, why did DePape do it?
According to Linker, it is not because he was looking to prevent Nancy Pelosi from engaging in her official duties.
Rather, Linker said that DePape did it because he believed "with every ounce of his being" that he was trying to end government corruption and child abuse by government actors. These are the conspiracy theories that were referred to at the outset.
Linker explained why this matters, saying:
These beliefs matter because both charges require that the government prove that Mr. DePape acted because of her performance of her official duties as a member of Congress.
The question now is whether this conspiracy theory defense will hold up in court.