An intruder with a hammer attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, at the couple’s home in San Francisco early Friday. Within hours of the incident, unproven rumors contradicting the official police story began circulating among far-right fringe circles. Since then, those false assertions have spread like wildfire thanks to new Twitter CEO Elon Musk and other conservative influencers.
BBC News investigates some of the allegations surrounding the attack.
Misleading testimony about a sexual encounter between two people of the same gender .One of the most widely spread lies about the attack indicates that Mr. Pelosi, who is 82 years old, and his assailant, David DePape, who is 42 years old, were involved in a same-sex relationship and got into a fight when they were inebriated.
The story is based on a bunch of unproven assumptions that don’t match up with what the government says happened. Elon Musk tweeted an article from a website carrying identical claims to his 112 million followers on Sunday, causing it to trend in the US, before removing the tweet without explanation hours later. The site to which Mr. Musk provided a link has a history of posting false information, including a 2016 article that falsely reported that Hillary Clinton had died.
One of the things people say online is that when the police arrived, both Mr. DePape and Mr. Pelosi were only wearing their underwear. However, the FBI’s complaint against Mr. DePape states that a witness saw him in all black while carrying a large black bag.
Police released the suspect’s identity after the incident.
When the BBC looked at his writings, they showed that he was a man who believed in far-right conspiracies. His varied work includes racist and anti-Semitic rants, support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, and unfounded assertions about the stolen 2020 election, the 6 January Capitol riot, and the safety of the Covid vaccine. They claimed in the online community that the blogs were fakes made on the day of the attack to bolster the story that he supported far-right conspiracy theories.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has been accused of things without any proof.
After the attack, people on both the right and the left came up with crazy ideas. Congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene’s tweet from the day before the attack, Just wait until tomorrow, was picked up by specific leftist influencers. Many liberal-leaning accounts suggested that Ms. Taylor Greene’s remark signaled that she was involved in the attack on Mr. Pelosi. This theory is not supported by any evidence at all.
How Paul Pelosi was attacked, according to prosecutors
Concern has been raised about the possibility of further violence against elected leaders, and the attack has provided fodder for numerous unfounded conspiracy theories.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was attacked.
San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins commented that widespread disinformation had made it all the more vital for prosecutors to disclose the facts to the public. Using official reports and court documents, we can piece together what happened on 28 October in the San Francisco residence of the speaker.
The attack started with someone breaking in.
The federal charges and the petition by local prosecutors, including an FBI agent affidavit, present a terrifying account of the break-in. They describe a groggy home invasion that happened early in the morning and ended with a single, sudden hammer blow in front of shocked police officers.
The man being blamed for the attack said to the police that he had other plans.
Apparently, without prompting from the police, Mr. DePape revealed his suicide goal. He said he had many additional people in mind as potential victims, including a professor at a nearby university and other state and federal officials with high profiles.
According to the police, he knew his activities had been caught on the 911 call and by house security cameras but was still determined to carry them out.
The suspect is being charged at the federal and state levels.
Government authorities charged 42-year-old Mr. DePape with a kidnapping attempt and assault on a federal official’s family member. Mr. DePape faces six felony charges from state prosecutors, including attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a lethal weapon, false confinement of an older adult, and threats against the family members of public officials. On Tuesday, Mr. DePape quickly went to court in San Francisco and pleaded not guilty to the state charges.
Mr. DePape is facing up to 30 years in prison if he is found guilty on all federal charges, including attempted kidnapping of a federal official while acting in his capacity while inflicting significant injury with a deadly weapon.
Online extremist posts have been linked to the suspect.
We still need to learn a lot about Mr. DePape. Authorities have been combing through Mr. DePape’s seemingly extensive online presence, which includes heated rants and radical ideas.
The federal lawsuit states that Mr. DePape lived in Richmond, California, for nearly two years, which corresponds to the address shown on the domain of the blog he wrote under the name daviddepape, which was registered in August.
Conspiracy theories that aren’t true have grown up around the attack itself.
After the incident, Republican and right voices circulated lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories about what happened, implying sinisterly that the media was hiding some shady details.
Elon Musk, the billionaire who only last week took over Twitter completely, linked to a debunked tabloid infamous for promoting hoaxes and asserted. Without proof, the article said the attacker was a male prostitute.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, revealed on Thursday that her husband Paul had been released from a San Francisco hospital following treatment for a skull fracture and injuries to his hand and arm.
Nancy Pelosi issued a statement thanking the medical professionals at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for saving Paul’s life following a brutal assault in their house, including the 911 operator, emergency responders, trauma care team, intensive care unit (ICU) staff, and the whole hospital’s medical staff.
According to a source and speaker, Paul Pelosi, the House speaker’s husband, is home and resting six days after the attack. The long road to healing and recovery for Paul continues. Under the supervision of his doctors, Nancy Pelosi stated. He is now at home with his family, who asks for privacy.