Alleged Pelosi attacker posted multiple conspiracy theories

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CNN

The man who allegedly assaulted the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early Friday posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about Covid vaccines, the 2020 election and the March 6 attack on the Capitol with reality.”

David DePape, 42, was identified by police Friday as a suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi at the Speaker’s home in San Francisco.

Three of DePape’s relatives told CNN that DePape has been estranged from his family for years and confirmed that the Facebook account – which was deleted by the social media company on Friday – belonged to him.

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His stepfather, Gene DePape, said David DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia and left Canada about 20 years ago to pursue a relationship that took him to California.

“I really don’t know what to think,” said the suspect’s uncle, Mark DePape, of his nephew’s alleged attack on Pelosi. “Hopefully it’s a scam. I don’t want to hear that.”

People who knew DePape in California described him as an odd character.

A 2013 article in the San Francisco Chronicle identified him as a “hemp jewelry maker” and said he lived with a nudist activist. Other photos released by the Chronicle show DePape – fully clothed – at a nude wedding on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

Linda Schneider, who lives in California, told CNN that she met DePape about eight years ago and that he’s housebound for her on occasion. When they met, she said, DePape was living in a storage unit in the Berkeley area and told her he was struggling with hard drugs but was “trying to build a new life for himself.”

She said he was extremely shy. “He said he couldn’t even have a bank account because he was afraid to speak to a teller,” Schneider said.

But Schneider later received “really disturbing” emails from DePape, in which he sounded like a “melomaniac and so out of touch with reality,” she said. She said she stopped communicating with him “because it seemed so dangerous,” adding that she recalled him “using biblical justifications to do harm.”

DePape’s social media presence similarly paints a picture of someone on a worrying path who’s been caught up in conspiracy theories in recent years.

Last year, David DePape posted links to several videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell on his Facebook page, falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and links to sites claiming Covid vaccines are deadly. “The funded death rates are what ‘YOU’ want to fund as the death rate,” reads one post.

DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles such as “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress on Jan 6th!!!” and “Global Elites Plan to Take Control of YOUR Money! (Uncovered)”

Two days after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, DePape wrote that the trial was “a modern day lynching,” falsely suggesting Floyd died of a drug overdose.

He also published content about the “Great Reset” – the broad conspiracy theory that global elites are using the coronavirus to usher in a new world order in which they gain more power and oppress the masses. And he complained that politicians who made promises to win votes “offer you bribes in exchange for your continued enslavement.”

Most of the public posts on DePape’s Facebook page date from 2021. In previous years, DePape also published lengthy treatises on religion, including claims that “Jesus is the Antichrist.” None of the public posts seemed to mention Pelosi.

More recently, two other blogs written by someone with the username “daviddepape” have posted content similar to DePape’s Facebook page.

In a series of posts on a WordPress.com blog spanning several days in August 2022, the author complained about major tech censorship, posting statements such as “Hitler did nothing wrong”. The site has since been taken offline.

And another blog, also credited to “daviddepape,” contained anti-Semitic smears and content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory. A video posted to the site includes a shot of Pelosi brandishing a gavel during one of former President Donald Trump’s impeachments, and another video includes an image of Pelosi and other politicians. A third video includes a clip of Pelosi speaking on the floor of the house.

Other posts in recent weeks have included videos accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children and declaring that “any journalist who says there is no evidence of voter fraud “should be dragged straight into the street and shot “. The most recent post – with a link to a YouTube video comparing colleges to cults – was published the day before the Pelosi attack.

CNN could not confirm that the two blogs were written by DePape.

Another former acquaintance of DePape’s also told CNN that he’s exhibited behavior over the years.

Laura Hayes, who also lives in California, said she worked with DePape making hemp bracelets a few months ago about a decade ago when he lived in a storage shed in the Berkeley area. She said DePape sold the bracelets as a business.

“He was very strange. He didn’t make eye contact very well,” Hayes said. She recalled him saying, “He’s talking to angels and there’s going to be a rough time.” But she didn’t recall any seriously threatening comments, saying she doesn’t think about it much because “it’s Berkeley,” a place , where eccentric characters are not uncommon.

Hayes, who was friends with DePape on Facebook, called his more recent posts “so phobic in so many ways” and filled with “so much anger.”

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