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Defense rests case in state trial of man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer

Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman said that the jury could begin deliberating as soon as Monday after closing statements.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Jurors in David DePape’s state trial will hear closing arguments as early as Monday after DePape’s defense rested its case early Friday morning in his ongoing state trial.

DePape’s legal team declined to call a single witness during the trial. Their decision comes more than a week after Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman dismissed three charges against DePape, including attempted murder, for the October 2022 home invasion and hammer attack on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul. Paul Pelosi survived the attack but suffered a fractured skull.

In last week’s ruling, Dorfman also dismissed charges of elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. DePape has admitted to attacking Paul Pelosi but pleaded not guilty to all charges in the state case. He still faces charges of false imprisonment, residential burglary, threatening a family member of a public official, attempting to sway a witness and aggravated kidnapping.

DePape filed a motion in May that sought to dismiss multiple counts against him under California’s double jeopardy laws, which he argues shields him from being tried more than once for the same offense, referring to his conviction in federal court for the same attack. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted in the federal trial.

DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, declined to comment when asked why his team did not call a single witness during the trial.

DePape’s team’s strategy differs from the strategy taken by public defenders during DePape’s federal trial in November. During the federal trial, DePape’s legal team called multiple witnesses, including a neighbor of DePape’s, and DePape tearfully testified in his own defense, saying then he believed Nancy Pelosi was a part of a cabal of elites controlling the country, indoctrinating children and trampling on the rights of Americans. He said Pelosi and other progressive politicians smeared former President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

On day one of the state trial, prosecutors showed the jury graphic images of DePape’s attack on Pelosi, including body camera footage where DePape struck Pelosi on the head with a hammer; some jurors recoiled at the sight of the violence on the body cameras and the close-up images of Paul Pelosi’s head lying in a pool of blood.

Paul Pelosi testified two weeks ago and shared harrowing details of being awoken in the middle of the night by DePape, who he said burst through his bedroom door holding a hammer and zip ties demanding to see Nancy Pelosi.

Prosecutors also called law enforcement officials, including police investigators who interviewed DePape. They played the jury a recording of a conversation DePape had with an investigator in which he detailed the “rampage” he was going to go on.

In addition to Nancy Pelosi, DePape said in the recording that he intended to expose George Soros, California Governor Gavin Newsom, actor Tom Hanks and numerous others he believed were involved in child molestation and other crimes.

All investigators testified that DePape appeared to be lucid and in control of his mind and actions when he committed the attack, contradicting the defense’s argument that DePape was suffering from a schizoid personality disorder that left him unable to control his actions and emotions and left him prone to fantastical, delusional thinking.

“His ideas might seem ridiculous or crazy to you ... But he absolutely believed that’s what was going on in this country,” Lipson told the jury during his opening statements.

The trial continues in an afternoon session Monday, where both sides will discuss jury instructions. After that, the prosecution and defense will give their closing statements if time allows.

Dorfman told the jury that he expected them to be deliberating by Tuesday afternoon before releasing them for the day Friday.

Categories / Criminal, Trials

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