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Paul Pelosi attack: Court hears DePape was on ‘suicide mission’ as Megyn Kelly raises conspiracies

Oliver O'Connell,Rachel Sharp,Johanna Chisholm
Wednesday 02 November 2022 00:05 GMT
Assailant breaks into Nancy Pelosi’s home, attacks husband Paul Pelosi

David DePape, the man accused of beating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul with a hammer during a struggle in the couple’s San Francisco home, pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance on Tuesday.

In court documents, prosecutors described Mr DePape as embarking on a “suicide mission” targeting the Pelosis, as well as other state and federal officials.

The 42-year-old could face as many as 50 years in prison if found guilty on state and federal charges.

Police body camera footage of the attack could be shown during the trial, police told The Independent.

Elsewhere, Sen Ted Cruz was called out by critics for propping up conspiracy theories about the violent assault on the House Speaker’s husband.

Brooke Jenkins said that her office will charge the suspect with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, and threats to a public official and their family.

It came hours after it was announced that the suspect is facing two federal charges for threatening violence against a US official’s spouse.


What we know about David DePape, the suspect in the Paul Pelosi attack

On 31 October, the FBI filed a criminal complaint against Mr DePape, 42, outlining charges of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official.

Mr DePape entered the San Francisco home through a glass door sometime after 2am on 28 October, according to the criminal complaint.

The suspect repeatedly shouted “where is Nancy?” when he confronted Mr Pelosi, who was alone at the time of the break-in.

“When Pelosi told him that Nancy was not there, DePape stated that he would sit and wait,” the complaint said. “Pelosi stated that his wife would not be home for several days and then DePape reiterated that he would wait.”

“DePape stated he wanted to tie Pelosi up so that DePape could go to sleep as he was tired from having had to carry a backpack to the Pelosi residence,” at which point he began “taking out twist ties from his pocket so that he could restrain Pelosi. Pelosi moved towards another part of the house, but DePape stopped him and together they went back into the bedroom”.

Read the full explainer on everything we know about Mr DePape here with The Independent.

What we know about David DePape, the suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi

Husband of House Speaker was ‘violently’ attacked in their San Francisco home

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 13:46

Tucker Carlson ignores DePape’s political intentions while reading the criminal complaint on Monday segment

Fox News host Tucker Carlson continued to fuel unsubstantiated conspiracy theories around the attack on Paul Pelosi on Monday night, even as he quoted from the very criminal complaint that puts much of the alt-right sponsored speculations to bed.

At one point in the Monday night prime time program, Carlson claimed that the story was still “muddy” because, he claimed, police hadn’t explained how 42-year-old David DePape broke into the elected official’s San Francisco home.

This, however, was untrue. Arresting documents, released Monday, stated: “DePape stated that he broke into the house through a glass door, which was a difficult task that required the use of a hammer.”

At another point in the segment, Carlson pushed back against the characterisation that the attack was “politically motivated”, as the San Francisco District Attorney said it was during a Monday press conference.

“This was politically motivated,” DA Brooke Jenkins said, before imploring the public to “watch the words that we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric”.

Carlson argued that because Mr DePape reportedly lived inside a school bus with a gay pride flag and a sign that reads, “Berkeley stands against hate,” you could deduce, he said, “know where this guy stands.”

In the arresting documents, however, the portion that Carlson didn’t read on air, it stated: “DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ’truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ’lied,’ he was going to break ’her kneecaps.’”

It added: “DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth.’ In the course of the interview, DePape articulated he viewed Nancy as the ’leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party.”

Mr DePape also added in the interview with authorities that, “by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 14:00

Donald Trump Jr deletes ‘dangerous’ Instagram memes mocking Paul Pelosi attack

Donald Trump Jr, the self-described “general in meme wars”, had a rare about-face as he deleted social media posts that openly mocked the attack on Paul Pelsoi.

On Sunday evening, just two days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was forced to undergo surgery after being attacked at the couple’s San Francisco home by a hammer-wielding intruder, Mr Trump shared a meme on his personal Instagram account that made light of the attack that left the 82-year-old with a fractured skull.

The online provoker seemed to initially double down on the post, as he later posted another mocking meme that seemed to acknowledge the backlash he was receiving from those who viewed his message in poor taste.

By Monday afternoon, however, both offending posts had been scrubbed from his public Instagram profile.

The Independent has more details here.

Donald Trump Jr deletes ‘sick’ Instagram memes mocking Paul Pelosi attack

The former president’s son removed the offending posts from his Instagram profile but kept some of the mocking memes up on his personal Twitter account

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 14:15

Ted Cruz faces furious calls to apologise for pushing Paul Pelosi attack conspiracy theories

Online observers were furiously calling on Sen Ted Cruz to issue an apology or retract a tweet where he seemed to be wilfully promoting a GOP conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi.

Despite offering his “prayers” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her 82-year-old husband on Friday, by Monday, the Texas senator was retweeting posts from unreliable sources that seemed to promote falsehoods and innuendo about the suspected attacker, 42-year-old David DePape.

In one of the posts, Sen Cruz had reshared a screenshot from alt-right activist Matt Walsh, in which he pushed back against the information that has been widely reported from reliable news outlets that Mr DePape had recently become engaged in posting on far-right political blogs.

In the hours after Mr Cruz shared those tweets, and in the light of the recent criminal complaint released from US District Court in Northern California, many people online began calling for the Republican lawmaker to respond with an apology.

“Where’s @tedcruz‘s apology?” asked on Twitter user while linking out to the arresting documents.

“You want to amend your lies and conspiracy theories, @tedcruz ? You owe Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, the Pelosi family and America an apology for your disgusting tweets,” tweeted another user, while highlighting a section of the criminal complaint where Mr DePape stated he intended to break “her kneecaps” if he got a hold of Ms Pelosi and she lied to him.

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 14:35

California Gov Gavin Newsom claims Fox News can be partly blamed for attack against Paul Pelosi

California Governor Gavin Newsom said during an exclusive interview with CBS News that he believes Fox News can be, in part, to blame for fuelling dangerous rhetoric against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, after the latter was attacked by a hammer-wielding intruder last week.

“I’ve seen the dehumanisation of Nancy Pelosi,” the California Democrat chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on Saturday. “I don’t think anyone’s been dehumanised like she has consistently.”

“They’re sowing the seeds, creating a culture and a climate like this,” the California governor added. “I mean, look online. Look at the sewage that is online that they amplify on these networks and in social media to dehumanize people like Nancy Pelosi and other political leaders.”

Watch the full interview at CBS News here.

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 15:00

Paul Pelosi attack: Everything we know about the ‘politically motivated’ assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband

On Friday morning Americans woke to news of a violent, apparently politically motivated attack on the home of one of the nation’s most powerful political figures.

Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, was taken to hospital after being allegedly beaten with a hammer by a man who broke into the family’s house in San Francisco.

The attack sparked anger, mockery, lurid conspiracy theories, increased security, warnings of a “heightened threat” from domestic extremists in advance of November’s midterm elections, and fears that the extreme rhetoric of far right groups such as QAnon is increasingly spilling over into violence.

So what happened at the Pelosis’ home in the early hours of Friday 28 October? Here’s everything we know.

Everything we know about the ‘politically motivated’ assault on Paul Pelosi

Authorities said the attacker was hoping to kidnap the Speaker of the House and hold her hostage

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 15:20

Arizona GOP candidate Kari Lake draws disturbing laugh with joke about Paul Pelosi attack

Arizona Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake seemingly joked about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband as she campaigned in the state.

Ms Lake, a pro-Trump former TV anchor, was at an event in Scottsdale when she was asked about increasing school security.

“It is not impossible to protect our kids at school, they act like it is. Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in DC, apparently, her house doesn’t have a lot of protection,” she said.

The line got a huge laugh from the crowd, and the chuckling moderator found it so amusing he had to cover his face with his notes.

Graeme Massie has more details here.

GOP candidate Kari Lake draws disturbing laugh with joke about Paul Pelosi attack

A string of Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr, have mocked the attck on Speaker’s husband

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 15:40

Marjorie Taylor Greene pushes Paul Pelosi attack conspiracies as video ‘threatening’ Nancy Pelosi resurfaces

Critics of Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene are accusing the right-wing politician of championing a conspiracy theory about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband while some of the congresswoman’s since-deleted videos that show her calling for violence against the US House Speaker are resurfacing.

On Monday, the Georgia lawmaker took to Twitter to defend the social media platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, after the Tesla founder posted – and deleted – a tweet that supported an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about the Friday attack on Paul Pelosi.

Ms Greene took to the same social media platform on Monday morning to defend Mr Musk’s actions, writing in a post: “The same mainstream media democrat activists that sold conspiracy theories for years about President Trump and Russia are now blaming @elonmusk for ‘internet misinformation’ about Paul Pelosi’s friend attacking him with a hammer.”

“The media is source of misinformation,” added the congresswoman, who herself is known to traffic in conspiracy theories about election fraud, QAnon and Covid-19 vaccines.

Later, a since-deleted video of Ms Greene began to resurface which showed the GOP congresswoman suggesting Ms Pelosi be executed for treason.

Get the rest of the report from The Independent here.

Marjorie Taylor Greene pushes Paul Pelosi attack conspiracies

The Georgia lawmaker appeared to defend Elon Musk for sharing a since-deleted tweet that promoted a conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 16:00

Jan 6 rioter who said she wanted to shoot Nancy Pelosi ‘in the brain’ to be released this week

The rioter who declared in a video that she would murder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she found the Democratic leader during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol is due to be released from prison this week.

Dawn Bancroft was sentenced to 60 days incarceration and three years of probation for her role in the January 6 attack. During her departure, she made her intentions clear in a selfie-style video during which she declared that she wanted “to shoot her in the fricking brain”, referring to the House leader whom she had named seconds earlier.

News of her impending release was first reported by Scott MacFarlane at CBS News.

John Bowden has more details here.

Jan 6 rioter who said she’d shoot Pelosi ‘in the brain’ to be released this week

Republicans have frequently insisted crowd was not violent to evade responsibility

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 16:20

Marjorie Taylor Greene doubles down on Paul Pelosi conspiracy theories

Marjorie Taylor Greene showed no signs of backing down from peddling conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi on Tuesday, as the Georgia lawmaker tried to pivot the blame for the attack on the House Speaker’s 82-year-old husband for not owning a gun.

“David Depape was an illegal alien that overstayed his visa & should have been deported. If Paul Pelosi was a 2A supporting gun owner he could have shot the man that was trying to kill him,” tweeted the Republican lawmaker, one day after she’d defended Elon Musk for posting about a conspiracy theory that falsely claimed that Mr Pelosi knew his attacker.

“It’s dangerous Democrat policies that led to Paul Pelosi being attacked,” she added, seeming to ignore the reporting that showed that Mr DePape had begun trafficking in right-wing conspiracy fuelled blogs.

Last year, CNN reported, the 42-year-old posted links on his Facebook page to multiple videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen. In other posts, he included transphobic images and linked to websites that shared stories about Covid-19 vaccine conspiracies.

“The death rates being promoted are what ever ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post read.

Alex Woodward has more here on Mr DePape’s digital trail of extremism and far-right conspiracy theories.

Paul Pelosi’s alleged attacker left digital trail of far-right conspiracy theories

The alleged online history of the man charged with violently assaulting the House speaker’s husband reveals QAnon links and a path to radicalisation

Johanna Chisholm1 November 2022 16:40

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