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News / Nation & World

Jury deliberates in state case against man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband with hammer

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press
Published: June 18, 2024, 4:00pm

SAN FRANCISCO — A judge on Tuesday expelled from court the former partner of the conspiracy theorist charged with breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in 2022, banning her from the public gallery as the man’s state trial wrapped up.

Gypsy Taub, who has two children with David DePape, was also barred from the second floor of the San Francisco courthouse because the judge said she was trying to tamper with the jury.

On Monday and Tuesday, Taub, a well-known pro-nudity activist in the Bay Area, handed out pieces of paper outside the courtroom with the address of a website she runs that promotes conspiracy theories. On Tuesday, graffiti of the website’s address was discovered in a women’s bathroom near the courtroom.

“You have been trying to corruptly influence one or more jury members,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman said sternly before asking two bailiffs to escort Taub out of the courtroom.

The judge’s decision came before DePape’s attorney, San Francisco Public Defender Adam Lipson, presented his closing arguments to the jury, saying DePape had been living a solitary life and had gone “down the rabbit hole of propaganda and conspiracy theories” when he broke into the Pelosis’ home on Oct. 28, 2022.

DePape faces charges of attempting to sway a witness, false imprisonment, residential burglary, threatening a family member of a public official and aggravated kidnapping.

Lipson told the jury DePape was guilty of three of the charges but that prosecutors had not presented evidence to convict him on threatening a family member of a public official and aggravated kidnapping.

“There is not much of a dispute to the facts of the case,” Lipson said. “But there is a tremendous dispute as to what charges apply and what don’t.”

DePape, 44, was convicted last month in federal court of assaulting a federal official’s family member and attempting to kidnap a federal official. He was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. He will likely be deported back to Canada after he completes his punishment.

Lipson earlier in the trial argued the state trial represents double jeopardy following the federal conviction. Even though the criminal counts are not exactly the same, the two cases stem from the same act, he argued.

The judge agreed and dismissed the state charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Another judge upheld the decision on appeal.

Lipson told the jury that prosecutors did not prove DePape kidnapped Paul Pelosi, who was 82 at the time, with the intent “to exact from another person money or something valuable.” In this case, the valuable thing DePape wanted from the kidnapping was to create a video of Nancy Pelosi confessing to crimes he believed she had committed, prosecutors said.

Lipson argued the video didn’t exist and if it did, it would not have had any value.

“When he broke into the Pelosis’ home his intent was to confront and potentially hurt and assault Nancy Pelosi. That was his intent at that time, that has nothing to do with Mr. Pelosi,” he said.

In her rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei pointed out DePape told a detective he planned to get a video of Nancy Pelosi confessing to crimes and post it on the internet.

“There is inherent value in a video of the Speaker of the House confessing to crimes in her own home,” Maffei said.

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On Monday, Maffei told the jury DePape unleashed a “reign of terror” on Paul Pelosi before bludgeoning him with a hammer as part of a plan he put together over months.

“The plain facts of this case are terrifying by themselves without embellishment,” Maffei said. “David DePape broke into the home of an 82-year-old man while he slept, entered his bedroom, held him hostage with a hammer, threatened him, threatened his wife, and attempted to kill him.”

DePape admitted during his federal trial testimony that he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, interrogate her and “break her kneecaps” if she did not admit to the lies he said she told about “Russiagate,” a reference to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The attack on Paul Pelosi was captured on police body camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and shocked the political world. He suffered two head wounds including a skull fracture that was mended with plates and screws he will have for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

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