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Paul Pelosi’s alleged attacker also targeted Tom Hanks, Hunter Biden, Gavin Newsom, investigator says

Tom Hanks narrating the "Year One of the Biden-Harris Administration" video released Jan. 20, 2022. (Biden Inauguration Committee/Released)

David DePape, the man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home, appeared at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, held to determine whether there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

At the hearing, a San Francisco police officer who was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the Oct. 28 incident, reportedly testified he saw DePape strike Pelosi with a hammer. DePape’s intended target was allegedly Pelosi’s wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The court saw body camera video from the officers that included audio of one officer telling DePape to “drop the hammer,” to which he replied, “Uh, nope,” before allegedly swinging the hammer at Pelosi and being tackled by an officer.

San Francisco police Sgt. Carla Hurley — who interviewed DePape the day of the attack — reportedly testified that DePape named other people on his “hit list.” In addition to Nancy Pelosi, DePape allegedly planned to target California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Hunter Biden and actor Tom Hanks.

The interview also was played in court, per news reports. In it, DePape accused Democrats of tampering with former President Donald Trump’s campaign and said he had planned to kidnap Speaker Pelosi. He said he did not regret his actions.

“I’m not trying to get away with this,” he said. “I know what I did.”

The 911 call audio, played in the courtroom and transcribed by KRON4 News, suggested Pelosi did not know DePape before the attack, disputing conspiracy theories online that were amplified on Twitter by CEO Elon Musk.

The dispatcher asked, “Do you know who the person is?” Pelosi responded, “No, I don’t know who he is.”

DePape faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, first-degree burglary and threatening the family member of a public official, among other enhancements. DePape pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In the October incident, DePape allegedly broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home and assaulted the 82-year-old man with the hammer, fracturing his skull and seriously injuring his right arm and legs, according to authorities. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., at the time.

A separate federal case against DePape is also ongoing, in which DePape pleaded not guilty to assault and kidnapping charges.

He told police in the interview after the attack that Speaker Pelosi was the “leader of the pack” of lies told by the Democratic Party, according to the federal indictment. DePape had hoped to hold her hostage, interrogate her and break her kneecaps, authorities said.

It was announced last month that San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy would be taking over the criminal case against DePape, according to Randy Quezada, communications director for the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

Before the hearing, Nebosvod Gonzalez, 19, the son of DePape and Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, spoke publicly about his father for the first time in a statement to The Times about DePape’s difficult upbringing and his political views. Gonzalez told The Times that he had not seen DePape for a few years.

Gonzalez said his father grew up in an abusive household and that, when he was a toddler, his grandmother poured boiling water on him.

“My father is a really sad person,” Gonzalez wrote in the statement. “If you look into his eyes, there is so much sadness there.”

Of DePape’s political views, Gonzalez said his father wasn’t “Republican or Democrat” but that he was progressive and “believed in human rights, equality and justice.”

“It’s really sad how much pain and suffering my father has been through,” Gonzalez said. “I really hope he doesn’t have to go through any more suffering because it’s honestly all just very sad and tragic.”

Taub, 53, DePape’s former partner and mother of his two sons, also wrote about DePape in her online blog last month. Gonzalez confirmed to The Times that the blog belonged to his mother.

Taub is incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Corona after being convicted in 2021 of stalking and attempted child abduction of a 14-year-old boy, among other charges.

Taub said she met DePape in Hawaii in 2000, when he was 20 years old, and described him as “really sweet and really shy.”

Taub wrote about DePape’s troubled childhood, saying he had been abused by his grandparents and his mother.

“David suffers from deep depression and severe PTSD,” she wrote. “It’s hard for him to communicate, to express his emotions and to connect with people. He was constantly bullied at school and at home. He felt unwanted and rejected.”

In her blog, Taub referenced a since-deleted NBC News story that fueled conspiratorial thinking online, asking Nancy Pelosi to release the evidence against her former partner and claiming a “massive cover-up.”

She told the San Francisco Chronicle that DePape struggled with drug use and started living on the streets at some point. The couple broke up in 2015.

DePape’s boss spoke with The Times last month, saying DePape had been a gentle and quiet carpenter but espoused right-wing views when politics came up. He said DePape began “deteriorating” over the last year and a half.

“It was right-wing, all the way down the line,” said Frank Ciccarelli, 76, a carpenter who employed DePape in the Bay Area. “He thought climate change was a hoax and Hillary Clinton is running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor. It was so ridiculous that it was hard to take seriously.”

A Times review of DePape’s personal blog revealed he posted videos about conspiracies involving COVID-19 vaccines and the war in Ukraine being a ploy for Jewish people to buy land.

DePape also posted about QAnon, an unfounded theory that former President Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshiping Democratic elites who run a child sex ring and control the world. Other posts referenced Pizzagate, a bogus conspiracy theory that posited that children were trapped in a sexual abuse ring in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria run by Hillary Clinton and a chief aide. The blog has since been taken down.

In her blog post, Taub challenged the claims that DePape was antisemitic, writing that she herself is a Jewish woman.

“If David really hated Jews, why would he spend 15 years of his life with a Jewish woman and why would he have Jewish kids with her?” she wrote. “In all the years that I spent with David I never once heard a single antisemitic comment from him. Neither have I ever heard any racist comments from David. He was against any form of racism.”

The Times’ review of DePape’s internet history, however, as well as interviews with others who knew him, present a different picture, particularly in the bigoted views expressed in his more recent blogs.

DePape was born in Canada, moved to California more than 20 years ago and was in the U.S. illegally, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


© 2022 Los Angeles Times

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