SAN FRANCISCO -- 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.
It's been just over one year since U.S. Capitol Police surveillance cameras captured David DePape breaking into Pelosi's home and attacking her husband during the early morning hours of Oct. 28.
The jury that will decide the fate of DePape consists of 12 men and three women. For hours they watched and listened to dozens of pieces of evidence, most of which had already been made public.
The government began opening statements showing the jury the hammer used in the attack and explaining in detail the evidence found at the scene, DePape's home, and on his computer. Prosecutors revealed weeks before the attack, DePape purchased an online subscription to collect addresses and phone numbers of his many targets that were all saved in a folder on his desktop labeled "favorite politicians."
DePape rewatched each piece of evidence emotionless, even as the government showed the jury a picture of Paul Pelosi, who was 82 years old at the time, on the ground in a pool of blood.
A stunned jury listened as the defense began opening statements by rattling off false claims about DePape's other high-profile targets. This included false conspiracies about actor Tom Hanks, hedge fund manager George Soros, Hunter Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Adam Schiff and target one.
DePape's defense team revealed target one is an associate professor at the University of Michigan who teaches about the LGBTQ+ community and feminism. DePape claimed she was promoting child molestation and that he allegedly planned to use Nancy Pelosi to lure her in.
Shortly after, the defense revealed their strategy saying "it's not a who done it, but why?"
The federal public defenders argue the government failed to answer why DePape did what he did. They claim the evidence, in this case, shows DePape's plan has nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi and her official duties as a member of Congress, but rather it was a plan to stop what he believed to be child molestation, corruption, and adhering to the "wealthy elite."
Despite the audio recordings of DePape revealing his intent to harm the former Speaker and his lack of remorse after the attack, his attorneys still concluded by saying "he had no intention of harming Paul Pelosi."
Throughout the trial, the prosecution will have more than a dozen witnesses testify, including Paul Pelosi. The defense will call three witnesses to the stand.
If convicted, DePape faces life in prison. He was also charged in state court with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. A state trial has not been scheduled.
In the courtroom Thursday were Christine Pelosi, one of the Pelosis' daughters, as well as Gypsy Taub, DePape's ex-girlfriend, and Taub's and DePape's two teenage sons. Taub called DePape's name softly and blew a kiss, and he smiled and waved in return.
A Canadian citizen, DePape moved to the United States more than 20 years ago after falling in love with Taub, a Berkeley pro-nudity activist well-known in the Bay Area, his stepfather, Gene DePape said. In recent years, David DePape had been homeless and struggling with drug abuse and mental illness, Taub told local media.
The trial resumes on Monday.