Man found guilty of attacking Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer testified that his radicalisation began with Gamergate

 David DePape in 2013.
David DePape in 2013.

David DePape, the man accused of attacking former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer and plotting to kidnap Pelosi herself, has just been found guilty on both counts. As part of his defence, DePape claimed he was radicalized on the internet (per Associated Press), and that he moved from being left-leaning to becoming a right wing conspiracy theorist, with Gamergate as the turning point, before a comment on a YouTube video about Donald Trump sparked his actions.

The crossover with the games industry's cultural nadir is that DePape claims Gamergate is what initially drew him into the right-leaning conspiracy theories that would eventually lead him to break into the Pelosis' house with a hammer and other equipment before attacking and seriously injuring Paul Pelosi (Nancy Pelosi was not in the house at the time).

DePape recounted to the court, at times crying, that at one time he was living in a garage without a toilet or shower, playing videogames for up to six hours a day. He testified that during this time, while looking up information about videogames online, he got interested in Gamergate.

Gamergate was pretty much an anti-feminist hate campaign that, from 2014 onwards, acquired huge online traction as a wider network of radical right-wing media figures and agitators such as Milo Yiannopoulos embraced members of the group, perpetuating Gamergate's rhetoric. It is considered something of a precursor to later online movements, many of which are right wing politically and anti-feminist.

After discussing Gamergate, DePape went on to reference conspiracy theories about Donald Trump, including the conspiracy theory originating with QAnon that holds that the US government is run by a cabal of satanic pedophiles.

"How did I get into all this," read a post from one of DePape's now-deleted blogs. "Gamer gate it was gamer gate."

DePape's plan was to get Nancy Pelosi and others to 'confess' what he believed to be the truth based on such conspiracy theories, and then demand Biden pardon various individuals in order to "bring the country together." On the stand, DePape explained his mindset and plan at the time as: "If she lied, I would break her kneecaps. The choice is on her."

Paul Pelosi managed to call police after the break-in, before DePape took him hostage, and subsequently attacked Mr. Pelosi with a hammer when officers arrived.

This particular line of argument arose because DePape's defense team argued that the accused was not targeting Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family because of her federal role, and that therefore the charges, which made specific reference to Ms. Pelosi's status as a US official, did not fit.

The jury disagreed, and found DePape guilty of both attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. He faces anywhere up to 50 years in prison. DePape also faces further state-level charges including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and other felonies.