The man accused of attacking former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer says he went to her San Francisco home as part of a bigger plan to end corruption.
David DePape testified before a federal court jury for more than an hour on Tuesday, tearfully recounting how his political leanings went from leftist to right-wing after reading a comment on YouTube about former president Donald Trump.
He did not deny bludgeoning Paul Pelosi, saying he reacted after realising his larger plan might be unravelling.
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 lawyers argue he was not seeking to go after Nancy Pelosi because of her official duties and so the charges do not fit.
DePape said he went to the Pelosis' on October 28 last year to talk to Nancy Pelosi about Russian involvement in the 2016 election and planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and upload his interrogation of her online.
Prosecutors say he had rope and zip ties with him.
DePape testified that his plan was to get Nancy Pelosi and other targets to admit to their corruption and eventually get President Joe Bident to pardon them all.
"It's just easier giving them a pardon so we can move forward as a country," he said, crying.
In testimony on Monday, Paul Pelosi recounted the attack publicly.
He recalled being awakened by a man bursting into the bedroom door asking, "Where's Nancy?" He said when he responded his wife was in Washington, DePape said he would tie him up while they waited.
He testified he was eventually able to call police from his mobile phone.
When officers arrived, DePape hit him with a hammer, Pelosi said, adding that DePape told him he was going to have "to take you out".
DePape testified that he felt really bad for Pelosi after hearing testimony from a neurosurgeon who operated on him after the attack.
Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands.
"He was never my target and I'm sorry he got hurt," DePape said.
"I reacted because my plan was basically ruined."
Defense lawyer Jodi Linker told jurors last week DePape believed he was taking action to stop government corruption, the erosion of freedom in the United States and the abuse of children by politicians and actors.
DePape testified that he often played video games up to six hours a day while listening to political podcasts.
He heard about one of his targets, a University of Michigan professor, while listening to conservative commentator James Lindsay.
"The takeaway I got is that she wants to turn our schools into pedophile molestation factories," he said.
The professor testified that some of her writings have been misconstrued to fit a narrative against the gay movement.
District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ordered her name not be put in the public record because of threats against her.
Asked by DePape's lawyer if she supported the abuse of children, the professor responded, "Absolutely not."
She said after Paul Pelosi was attacked, the FBI informed her she was DePape's main target.
After his arrest, DePape, 43, allegedly told a San Francisco detective he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage.
He said if she told him the truth, he would let her go and if she lied, he was going to "break her kneecaps".
If convicted, DePape faces life in prison.