On Oct. 28, the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, was attacked at their San Francisco home by an intruder. While the police have given many details, there has been a slew of conspiracy theories floating around about the attack at the home of one of DC’s most powerful Democrats. Some conspiracy theorists have even compared the incident to that of the actor Jussie Smollett.
In January 2019, police said Smollett staged a fake racial hate crime against himself in Chicago and later made false police reports regarding the incident. In December 2021, Smollett was convicted of five felony counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced in March 2022 to 150 days in county jail. He is appealing.
Nancy Pelosi was not at home when the attack happened. She was in DC. She traveled to California to be with her husband. While there is security detail for lawmakers, including the speaker, security is not provided for spouses or family when the members of Congress are not with them.
Suspect David DePape, 42, was captured at the come and arrested. He is being charged with suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and burglary, authorities said.
DePape confronted the 82-year-old Paul Pelosi with a hammer early Friday morning, shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to a law enforcement source. DePape attempted to tie Pelosi up “until Nancy got home,” two sources familiar with the situation told CNN.
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Pelosi immediately called 911 when he encountered DePape, who had entered through a back door and left the line open so a dispatcher could hear what was going on. San Francisco police responded by 2:27 a.m. (5:27 a.m. ET) t local time on Oct. 28 to find Pelosi struggling over a hammer with a man. DePape had already committed a “violent assault” on Pelosi, police stated.
Pelosi was taken to a hospital after the attack and underwent a “successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement. He is expected to make a full recovery.
DePape had posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 election, and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Deppe wrote at least two blogs in which he expressed far-right political views on Holocaust denial, election fraud, among other things, Gizmodo reported.
Conspiracy theories are wide-ranging.
Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is even spreading conspiracy theories. Musk shared a blog post on Twitter claiming Depape was actually a sex worker who was meeting up with Paul Pelosi, and things went wrong—a theory that has no basis in fact.
“This Pelosi story is getting weird Paul Pelosi & his attacker were half naked when the police showed up. They were both in their underwear And how did somebody randomly get into the mansion of the person 3rd in line to the presidency? Where was Nancy Pelosi MAKE IT MAKE SENSE,” tweeted Terrence K. Williams, comedian.
“Okay, so the Paul Pelosi story is not adding up… My two theories so far are: 1. Jussie Smollett 2.0 2. Paul Pelosi got in a fight with his gay lover,” Samantha Marika tweeted, spreading the conspiracy theory.
Far-right influencer Jack Posobiec and Dinesh D’Souza, a convicted criminal pardoned by President Donald Trump, also passed on this “sex party” thread.
“The media is assuming the assailant said ‘where’s Nancy’ because he was out to get her. A more plausible explanation is that he was making sure she was NOT AT HOME so the sexual rendezvous with Paul Pelosi could proceed,” D’Souza tweeted on Oct. 30.
“It’s one thing for Paul Pelosi to be in his underwear. It’s his own home, and it was very early on the morning. The remarkable thing is his assailant was also in HIS underwear. What does that tell you that the media isn’t telling you?” D’Souza tweeted.
Major whole in these theories is that the attacker was not in his underwear, Gizmodo reported.
How did the theory start?
News outlet KTVU erroneously reported that Pelosi’s attacker was in his underwear but was corrected and now reads, “CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated what clothing the suspect was wearing when officers found him.” Fox News ran with the first version.
Another theory is that the attack was staged, a la Smollet.
“How does it have ‘Smollet‘ written all over it? The police literally saw the man hitting him with the hammer, Shabazz tweeted.
There are also right-wing tweeters who claim Pelosi was attacked by a Black man.
“One false story that went viral on Twitter claimed the attacker was Black, leading many on the far-right to claim the attacker’s photo was being suppressed. But the photo that went viral wasn’t David Deppe,” Gizmodo reported.
The Black man in the photo was of a veteran of the Gulf War who allegedly murdered a liquor store owner in Chicago and it was part of a different news story.
Photo: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband, Paul Pelosi, arrive at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner, on Dec. 7, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)