Amanda Marcotte, writing for Salon Magzine argues that the “innocent by reason of stupidity” defense has not worked out so well for David DePape, the man who broke into Nancy Pelosi’s home and bludgeoned her husband with a hammer, who attempted to argue in court that since he sincerely believed that Donald Trump had won the 2020 election, that his plan to kidnap the Speaker and force her to set things right in the world was righteously concocted and for that reason alone he should be acquitted.
“Putting David DePape, Paul Pelosi’s attacker, on the witness stand wasn’t a great idea. But it was the only thing DePape’s defense had. He has admitted, even bragged, about his attempted murder of Nancy Pelosi’s husband last year at the couple’s home in San Francisco. Predictably enough, on the witness stand DePape rambled on about the conspiracy theories he believed, telling the jury that he worshiped Donald Trump and believed every cockamamie nugget of disinformation churned out by the MAGA media ecosystem. DePape was captured on video smashing Paul Pelosi’s head with a hammer, and has repeatedly admitted he went to the Pelosi house that night in hopes of kidnapping the then-speaker of the House and forcing her to endorse Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election lies. This was a Hail Mary move from DePape’s lawyers, at best, built on the dubious premise that he’d seem too delusional to be a full-blown domestic terrorist.“
That defense obviously did not work out well for DePape who was convicted of felonious assault and attempted kidnapping and is looking to spend the next twenty or thirty years of his stupid life behind bars.
Likewise the “I’m so stupid I believed Trump” has not worked out so well for the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and various unaffiliated thugs who have tried to argue in court that their belief in the stupid lies that Trump told about the 2020 election should absolve them from responsibility for attacking police officers, breaking into the Capitol and threatening to hang Vice President Pence and any Democratic Congress critters they managed to capture:
“In general, Trump treats conspiracy theories as an all-purpose tool to get what his way. He used his BS claims about Barack Obama’s birth certificate” to rally the deplorables to his cause way back when. He uses the QAnon cult to prop up the illusion that his sociopathic behavior is just a front for a superhero out to save the world. And of course he used the Big Lie, claiming that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election, to justify his very real attempts to overthrow democracy…
…This is being called the “advice of counsel” defense in the media, since Trump plans to argue he just picked up his conspiracy theories from lawyers and other advisers. But we could also think of it as the “innocent by reason of stupidity” defense.
But as the DePape example shows, juries aren’t necessarily going to buy this. In fact, this was just the latest in a line of MAGA-inspired criminal defendants who have failed to get off the hook by depicting themselves as credulous idiots who believed the wrong people. Alex Jones tried to wiggle out of a defamation lawsuit by playing an ignorant dumbass, but evidence of sinister intent was swiftly established from his phone communications. Both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers tried out a variation of this defense, arguing that they let their belief in ludicrous fantasies get the better of them during the Capitol riot. They were convicted. Indeed, many Jan. 6 insurrectionists have rolled out the “well-meaning moron” argument at trial and, by and large, have found themselves headed to prison.”
Near the end of her article Marcotte admits that it may be possible that within the juries of Herr Gropinfuhrer’s myriad trials their could be at least one juror who has partaken of the MAGA Kool-Aid and will not vote, no matter the evidence, to convict the Orange man.
That remains a worrying possibility.
Still, one would think that by just employing the “I’m so stupid” defense, Trump will alienate enough independent voters to preventing him from again fouling the Oval Office.
That too remains to be seen.
But the very real consequence of the Orangeutan calling out himself for his stupidity is that he ultimately threatens the livelihoods of well meaning scribes such as myself who have been making the case for his stupidity since he first descended his golden escalator and insinuated himself like a fatal virus into our national discourse.
I mean, if The Dotard succeeds in convincing a jury of his stupidity… who would need to read me?