A man accused of a hammer attack on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband has testified how he hatched a plan to stop American corruption after being consumed by conspiracy theories.
David DePape, 43, has pleaded not guilty to two charges, including the attempted kidnapping of a federal official.
He wept as he testified about how he hatched a bizarre plot that included wearing a unicorn costume while questioning Ms Pelosi and posting the video online.
If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Closing arguments are expected in the trial on Wednesday.
In sometimes tearful testimony in court on Tuesday, Mr. DePape said he used to have left-wing political beliefs before a political transformation that began when he lived in a garage without a toilet or shower and played video games for hours at a time.
Testifying for more than an hour, he said that in the course of finding information about video games, he became interested in Gamergate, an anti-feminist campaign that targeted prominent women in the gaming world and became a huge online trend that started in 2014 .
He began listening to right-wing podcasters and watching political YouTube videos.
“At the time I was biased against Trump,” Mr. DePape said, “but there’s like truth there. So if there’s truth out there that I don’t know, I want to know it.”
He said he formulated a “grand plan” that involved luring “targets” to the Pelosi home.
Inflatable unicorn costume
The names on his list included University of Michigan academic Gayle Rubin, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Tom Hanks, Congressman Adam Schiff, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Attorney General Bill Barr, Senator Bernie Sanders and liberal mega-donor George Soros.
Ultimately, Mr. DePape said, he would confront President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and after he got his targets to admit corruption, he planned to ask the president to pardon anyone he considered “criminals.”
“It’s just easier to give them a pardon so we can move forward as a country,” he said, crying in the stands.
Sir. DePape said he went to the Pelosi home in the early hours of last October 28, hoping to talk to Mrs. Pelosi about what he believed to be false theories about Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
He said he planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and upload his interrogation of her online. He was arrested with ligatures and duct tape in his possession.
When asked why he punched Mr Pelosi, he replied: “I reacted because my plan was basically ruined.”
“He was never my target and I’m sorry he got hurt,” he said.
Sir. Pelosi, 83, testified on Monday about his alarm when he awoke to find Mr. DePape “standing in the doorway.”
Sir. Pelosi spent six days in the hospital with a fractured skull and injuries to her arm and hand.
Defense lawyers do not deny that Mr. DePape punched Mr. Pelosi, but they argue that he was motivated by his belief in conspiracy theories rather than Ms. Pelosi’s status as speaker of the House.
Because the charges involve assault on a federal official, prosecutors must prove that Mr. DePape’s actions were motivated by Ms. Pelosi’s elected position.