Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband sentenced to 30 years in prison

David DePape was found guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault of an official’s family member.

A November court sketch shows David DePape at a hearing on charges he attacked Paul Pelosi, the husband of Democratic lawmaker Nancy Pelosi, after breaking into their home [File: Vicki Behringer/Reuters]Published On 17 May 202417 May 2024

The man convicted of breaking into top United States legislator Nancy Pelosi’s home and attacking her husband with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley handed down the sentence for David DePape, 44, on Friday.

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A US jury found DePape guilty last November of the attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. Prosecutors had asked for a 40-year prison term.

DePape admitted during trial testimony that he broke into Pelosi’s San Francisco home on October 28, 2022, intending to hold the then-speaker of the US House of Representatives hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied to him.

He also admitted to bludgeoning her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer after police showed up, saying his plan to end what he viewed as government corruption was unravelling.

Footage of the attack on Paul Pelosi was also made public last January following petitions from news agencies to release the video and emergency services call.

Paul Pelosi suffered two head wounds in the attack, including a skull fracture that was mended with plates and screws. His right arm and hand were also injured.

On Friday, the judge who handed down DePape’s sentence, Corley, said she took into account the fact that he broke into the home of a public official, an unprecedented act in the history of the country.

“He actually went to the home, that is completely, completely unprecedented,” the judge said.

DePape was given 20 years for one count and 30 years for another count. The sentences will run concurrently. He was also given credit for the 18 months that he’s been in custody.

‘Where’s Nancy?’

Defence lawyer had argued that DePape was motivated by his political beliefs, and not because he wanted to interfere with Pelosi’s official duties as a member of Congress, making the charges against him invalid.

One of his lawyers, Angela Chuang, said during closing arguments that DePape was caught up in conspiracy theories.

But in court papers, the US Department of Justice argued that while he was not convicted of a terrorism crime, his offences nevertheless met the definition because he was aiming to affect the government through “intimidation or coercion”.

Prosecutors also said DePape had not shown remorse for his actions.

Paul Pelosi had testified at the trial, recalling how he was awakened by a large man bursting into the bedroom and asking, “Where’s Nancy?”

He said that when he responded that his wife was in Washington, DC, DePape said he would tie him up while they waited for her.

“It was a tremendous sense of shock to recognise that somebody had broken into the house, and looking at him and looking at the hammer and the ties, I recognised that I was in serious danger, so I tried to stay as calm as possible,” he told the jurors.

In a separate letter, Pelosi – a Democrat who was the first woman to be elected House speaker – urged the judge to impose a “very long” punishment.

She also noted that DePape shouted, “Where’s Nancy?”, echoing what some intruders yelled inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building to overturn the 2020 election results.

DePape has also been charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies.

He has pleaded not guilty, and jury selection in that trial is expected to start on Wednesday.

Source: News Agencies