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Sunday, July 7, 2024 | Back issues
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Arguments come to a close in trial of Paul Pelosi’s attacker

Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman banned Gypsy Taub, David DePape’s ex-partner, from the courtroom because he believed she was attempting to influence the jury.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Even before David DePape’s public defender gave his closing arguments to a jury Tuesday morning, there was plenty of intrigue in the courtroom.

Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman ordered DePape’s ex-partner, Gypsy Taub, to be excluded from the courtroom and the second floor of the Hall of Justice for the remainder of DePape’s trial because Dorfman believed that Taub was attempting to influence the jury.

Cards placed in the women’s bathroom and permanent marker scrawled in a stall in the women’s bathroom of the Hall of Justice led to a conspiracy website run by Taub.

“In my view, you have been attempting to tamper with members of this jury,” Dorfman told Taub before deputies escorted her away. Dorfman said he was hesitant to eject anyone from a public trial, but he had no choice.

“The line for me is when a member of the public attempts to influence any member of a jury,” Dorfman said.

DePape faces charges of false imprisonment and four other felony charges. Prosecutors say he broke into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in October 2022 before fracturing her husband Paul’s skull with a hammer.

DePape has admitted to the attack but pleaded not guilty. DePape originally faced attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon charges in the state case, before those charges were dismissed by Judge Harry Dorfman last week. Dorfman’s decision to throw out those three charges is why DePape’s public defender Adam Lipson declined to call any witnesses during the trial, Lipson said Tuesday.

The aggravated kidnapping charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Once closing arguments began, Lipson told the jury that charges of aggravated kidnapping should not stick because the prosecution had not proven that DePape held Paul Pelosi with the intent to get money or an item of value from another person, which is integral to the charge.

Prosecutors said during the trial that the item of value DePape sought was a video where he interrogated Nancy Pelosi and got her to admit to corruption in Washington, D.C.

“I think what the district attorney is arguing is that Mr. DePape was going to hold Paul Pelosi to get something of value from Nancy Pelosi,” Lipson said.

Lipson said this charge should not stick, however, because when DePape broke into the home, he intended only to assault Nancy Pelosi. When she wasn’t home, Lipson said DePape had no intention of what he was going to do next.

“His intent was to confront and potentially hurt and assault Nancy Pelosi. That had nothing to do with Paul Pelosi,” Lipson told the jury.

Lipson said the hypothetical interrogation video that DePape sought does not matter because it does not exist and even if it did it would hold no value.

“All it would be is evidence against David DePape,” Lipson said of the video. “The intent is not there and the object of value is not there.”

Lipson did say that DePape is clearly guilty of residential burglary and guilty of attempting only false imprisonment of an elder charges. Lipson also said that he would not contest the charges of preventing or dissuading a witness by force or threat because DePape stood next to Paul Pelosi, holding the hammer, when Paul Pelosi dialed 911.

Lipson ended his argument by telling the jury that DePape never intended to kill anyone, as prosecutors claimed in their closing statement Monday afternoon.

“His ultimate plan was to expose all these people and have President Joe Biden pardon them all,  and that was going to unite the nation,” Lipson said of DePape’s plan, which he also called “absurd.”

In her rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei said that the evidence clearly shows that DePape went to the Pelosi residence to interrogate Nancy Pelosi on video, which would clearly be an item of value.

“He went to Nancy Pelosi’s house that night to get a video of her admitting to the corruption he believed she was involved in,” Maffei said.

The defense’s argument that DePape abandoned his plan once he got there and Nancy wasn't home isn’t true, Maffei said, because DePape was still planning to go forward with his plan when he encountered Paul. She told the jury DePape had plenty of chances to let Paul go, but did not.

“He intended to wait, hold Mr. Pelosi there, and wait for Nancy to get home,” Maffei said.

The jury left for deliberation in the afternoon but did not return with a verdict. They will return Thursday morning for deliberations because court is closed Wednesday for the Juneteenth holiday.

Categories / Closing Arguments, Criminal, Trials

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