Man jailed for bludgeoning Nancy Pelosi’s husband with hammer

US

The man convicted of attacking then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

David DePape, 44, was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley handed down the sentence of 30 years in prison after prosecutors asked for a 40-year prison term.

David DePape. Pic: Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP
Image:
David DePape in 2013. Pic: Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP

DePape was given 20 years for one count and 30 years for another count, to run concurrently. He was also given credit for the 18 months he has been in custody.

DePape admitted during trial testimony he broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on 28 October 2022 intending to hold Ms Pelosi hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied to him.

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

The attack on Mr Pelosi, who was 82 at the time, was captured on police body camera.

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

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

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Investigators work outside the home of Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Paul Pelosi, was attacked and severely beaten by an assailant with a hammer who broke into their San Francisco home early Friday, according to people familiar with the investigation. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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The attack happened at the couple’s San Francisco home in October 2022. Pic: AP

Plans to wear inflatable unicorn costume during interrogation

During the trial, the Canadian, who moved to the US more than 20 years ago, testified he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about former president Donald Trump.

DePape also told jurors he had planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and record his interrogation of the Democratic speaker, who was not at home at the time of the attack, to upload it online.

Prosecutors said he had rope and zip ties with him, and detectives found body cameras, a computer and a tablet.

‘A tremendous shock’

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

He said he responded that his wife was in Washington and 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,” Mr Pelosi told jurors.

State court charges

DePape is also charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies. Jury selection for that trial is expected to start on Wednesday.

Mr Pelosi suffered two head wounds in the attack, including a skull fracture. His right arm and hand were also injured.

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