David DePape testified, tearfully at times, in his own defense on Tuesday about attacking Nancy Pelosi's husband in the couples' San Francisco home.
Jurors heard DePape express regret for smacking Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer, fracturing his skull.
"When he was on the ground breathing, I was really scared for his life," DePape said in federal court in San Francisco. "And later in the hospital, I felt really bad for him because we had a really good rapport and things were going good until the last second."
Prosecutors have alleged that DePape broke into the Pelosis' home at night about a year ago in an attempt to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker. Paul Pelosi testified on Monday that DePape repeatedly asked where he could find her. She was in Washington at the time.
At times, DePape wept on the stand while describing his political views and interests. He said he regularly listens to right-wing podcasts, such as one hosted by Glenn Beck. He said he believed that 9/11 was an inside job and believes that politicians are sexually abusing children — an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.
Tom Hanks, Bernie Sanders, Hunter Biden and Gavin Newsom were some of the other targets that DePape had on a mental list in his head, he said. Nancy Pelosi, whom he claims espouses lies for Democrats, was another of his targets, he said.
DePape said that he felt bad for Pelosi after hearing testimony from a neurosurgeon who operated on him after the attack and testified Pelosi had two wounds on his head, including a fracture to his skull that had to be mended with plates and screws. Pelosi also needed stitches on injuries to his right arm and hand.
"He was never my target and I’m sorry that he got hurt," DePape said.
"I reacted because my plan was basically ruined," he said when asked why he hit Pelosi.
Video from San Francisco police officers' cameras showed DePape hitting Pelosi and Pelosi crumpling to the floor. Cops had arrived at the house because Pelosi called 911 after DePape broke in.
"I recall hitting him once," DePape said. "The medical report says he was probably hit more, but I only recall once."
Testimony wrapped up later Tuesday, with closing arguments expected Wednesday.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official with intent to retaliate against the official for performance of their duties.
His attorneys argue that he was not seeking to go after Nancy Pelosi because of her official duties as a member of Congress and so the charges do not fit.