Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (R) and Paul Pelosi arrive for the Recording Academy and Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California on January 25, 2020. (Photo by MARK RALSTON /AFP via Getty Images)
The man who allegedly broke into Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and bludgeoned her husband Paul with a hammer appeared to ascribe to a grab bag of far-right conspiracy theories online, including Holocaust denial, election fraud, and Pizzagate. VICE News identified several blogs under the name David DePape that contained rambling screeds against minorities, politicians, and women.
DePape, 42, has been charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse, for the brutal attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi in the early hours of Friday morning. The attack left Pelosi hospitalized due to blunt-force trauma on his head and body, and he underwent surgery.VICE News found two online blogs under DePape’s name: “The Loving God” and “Frenly Frens.” One of them, which was updated the night before the attack and frequently over the last months, features a wide range of topics, including “pedogate, “great reset,” “voter fraud,” “da jewbs,” and “Covid.” Many of the tags referred to women, including one directly about Amber Heard—the target of many misogynistic attacks stemming from her lawsuit with Johnny Depp. Recent headlines on “Frenly Frens” include “It’s OK to be White,” “Faking of Adolf Hitler for History,” and “Q.” The posts go on long diatribes against women, Jewish people, and Black people. One recent post referred to the Holocaust as a “hoax.” The writings also touch on popular far-right culture war topics, like “drag queen story hours,” “cultural marxism,” and child “grooming.” Yet another post references frequent visits and posts to the /pol/ board of 4chan, an infamous board for racism and bigotry.Searches on each blog turned up no posts with “Pelosi” within them.
VICE News took numerous steps to verify that the blogs belonged to DePape. Public records indicate that there’s only one person named David DePape in the state of California. An SFgate article from 2013 about a Bay Area woman named Gypsy Taub, who was planning a naked wedding, identified “David Depape” as the best man and a “hemp jewelry maker.” The article also reported the two lived together. In 2007, a blog under the name David Depape posted several articles on a crafting site about making hemp jewelry. One post links to The Loving God, a WordPress blog that remains active. Earlier posts contain religious and New Age themes. Posts from this year, however, have a drastically different tone, touching on QAnon, Pizzagate, and other far-right conspiracies. The final post on the blog didn’t promise violence but was a link to a YouTube video about “Why Colleges are becoming Cults.”
The Frenly Frens blog—a reference to a term popular among the online far-right—has a domain registered this year to a David DePape. VICE News found identical posts on The Frenly Frens and on The Loving God. One post includes a screenshot of a vitriolic email to Taub sent in 2016 and their ongoing exchanges. Some of the most frequent posts are screenshots of text message arguments that he’s had with a family member.
At a house where DePape reportedly previously lived in Berkeley, California, a young man who answered the door said David was no longer a resident but he “apparently got arrested for attacking somebody famous yesterday.” The man did not give a name and declined to give any further comment. DePape’s writings online reference "five little dogs” that could be seen running around the property, which had a rainbow-striped flag with a marijuana leaf on it hanging from a tree in the front yard. It’s unclear when DePape last lived at that house. At around 1 p.m. local time, a team of four plainclothes FBI agents arrived and attempted to interview the two young men living there. At first, one of the men said, “I don’t know David, I don’t know anything,” before stepping out of earshot.
With a crowd of reporters looking and filming, one of the men could be heard asking the agents if they had a warrant and saying, “I exercise my right to remain silent, goodbye please.” One of the agents could be heard telling the man, “You’re not in any trouble,” but he was still asked to leave the premises. The agents tried knocking on another door on the property and left after about 15 minutes.
Two school buses were parked out front of the Berkeley property, including one advertising “Natural Addiction Treatment” in the form of the hallucinogenic drug ibogaine, which is also referenced in DePape’s writings online. The drug, which has been shown to be an effective treatment for opioid addiction, is illegal in the United States but permitted in Mexico.Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.