SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — David DePape tearfully testified on the witness stand for his federal trial Tuesday with three supporters listening in the courtroom gallery.
DePape’s ex-wife, Gypsy Taub; his 20-year-old son, Nebosvod “Sky” Gonzalez; and 18-year-old son have attended every day of the trial to see first-hand the government’s case against him.
Prosecutors said DePape intended to kidnap and hold Nancy Pelosi hostage when he broke into her house in San Francisco on Oct. 28, 2022, days before the midterm elections, and bludgeoned Paul Pelosi with a hammer. The former U.S. House Speaker’s husband “was never my target, and I’m sorry that he got hurt,” DePape testified.
DePape testified for more than an hour, recounting how his political leanings went from leftist to right-wing after reading a comment on a YouTube video about former President Donald Trump. He did not deny attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer, saying he reacted after realizing his larger plan might be unraveling.
DePape testified that he went to the Pelosis’ home to talk to Nancy Pelosi about Russian involvement in the 2016 election. He planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and upload his interrogation of her online, DePape told the jury.
“I reacted because my plan was basically ruined,” DePape said when asked why he hit Mr. Pelosi.
If convicted, DePape faces life in prison.
Gypsy Taub, a nudist activist who was married to DePape for several years, told KRON4 outside the courthouse that she believes the federal trial is a sham riddled with fabricated video evidence and false confessions.
Taub said her ex-husband never cries, and his tearful confession on the stand was likely coerced. “This is a joke of a trial. I believe that the evidence against him is false. I believe that this is a big coverup. I noticed an enormous amount of inconsistencies,” Taub told KRON4.
Taub was also critical of DePape’s defense team, who declined to cross-examine Paul Pelosi when he was on the stand Monday.
During direct examination, Paul Pelosi testified that he was woken up by a “very large man” who entered his bedroom holding a hammer in one hand, and zip ties in the other. The intruder asked, “Where’s Nancy?” Mr. Pelosi testified. Mr. Pelosi said he realized he was in “serious danger” and called 911.
San Francisco Police Department officers’ body cameras recorded the moment that DePape swung a hammer at Paul Pelosi’s head and gravely injured the 83-year-old man.
Taub told KRON4, “I cannot believe Paul Pelosi was not cross-examined.” If she was on the defense team, Taub said she could have “shredded” Paul Pelosi’s testimony apart with cross-examination questions.
DePape’s eyes twitched with nervous tics while he testified. His son, Nebosvod “Sky” Gonzalez, told KRON4 that he was home-schooled by his father. “He would take us to the park just about every single day. He was a very kind person. He believed in non-violence and non-violent solutions to problems.”
“He was a well-calculated person. To me it seems very weird that he would come up with such an illogical plan that makes no sense at all,” DePape’s son said.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to 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.
Defense attorneys argued that DePape was not seeking to go after Nancy Pelosi because of her official duties as a member of Congress, and therefore he is not guilty of the charges.
An FBI agent testified Monday that agents found body cameras and two rainbow unicorn costumes DePape ordered on Amazon between July-October 2022.
DePape lived alone in a garage attached to a house on Shasta Street in Richmond. FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor searched the garage on Oct. 29, one day after the hammer attack, and seized his electronic items as evidence.
Defense attorney Jodi Linker said her client believed in right-wing and QAnon-inspired conspiracy theories. DePape believed he was taking action to stop government corruption and the erosion of freedom, Linker said. According to DePape’s defense team, he went on a misguided crusade against powerful people — including Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff, George Soros, Hunter Biden, and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The jury listened to a recorded phone call DePape made from jail to a Bay Area news station after he was arrested. In the jail call, DePape said, “I have an important message for everyone in America: You’re welcome. The tree of liberty needs watering. I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them. I should have come better prepared.”
DePape took a far more apologetic tone on the stand Tuesday. Mr. Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture he suffered from the attack. After a neurosurgeon testified and described the extent of Mr. Pelosi’s injuries, DePape said he felt really bad.
When asked what she would like for people to know about DePape, Taub answered, “David is a beautiful human being. He’s very broken, so I can see him being confused about certain issues. But I know for a fact that he did not do what he is accused of. I don’t believe anyone deserves to go to prison for crimes they did not commit.”
The prosecution and defense rested their cases Tuesday afternoon. Closing arguments will begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, followed by jury deliberations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.