A man sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer

SAN FRANCISCO – A man who broke into the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold her hostage and beat her husband with a hammer was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

The attack on Paul Pelosi, who was 82 years elderly at the time, was a fact captured on police camera footage days before the 2022 midterm elections and submitted a shock wave in the political world. He suffered two head wounds, including a skull fracture, which were sewn together with plates and screws that will remain with him for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

A jury found 44-year-old David DePape guilty last November of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting a member of the federal official’s immediate family. The prosecutor’s office demanded 40 years in prison for him.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley sentenced DePape to 20 years for attempted kidnapping and 30 years for assault – the maximum penalty in both cases. The sentences will be executed in parallel. He was also found to have spent 18 months in custody.

DePape stood silently during the sentencing and at times looked down. His public defenders asked the judge to sentence him to 14 years in prison, noting that at the time of the attack he was going through a hard period in his life, had undiagnosed mental problems and had no previous convictions.

During the trial, DePape testified that he planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and record his audition of the Democratic speaker, who was not at her San Francisco home at the time of the attack, and then post it online.

Before sentencing, one of his defense attorneys, Angela Chuang, told the judge to consider prison terms for those who participated in January 6, 2021, attack on Capitol Hill.

“The five most severe sentences for people convicted of seditious conspiracy and literally plotting to overthrow the government are 15 to 22 years,” Chuang said.

Corley said the Jan. 6 analogy did not adequately convey the seriousness of the burglary of the official’s private home. The attack could have a chilling effect on people running for office in the future, she added.

“They have to think not only, ‘Am I willing to take this risk myself, but am I willing to put my spouse, my children, my grandchildren at risk?'” the judge said.

Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence on each count and for DePape to serve 10 years in prison concurrently, giving him a 40-year sentence.

Before her sentencing, Christine Pelosi read statements from her father and mother, explaining how the brutal attack changed their lives. In a statement, Paul Pelosi explained that he still had headaches and dizziness 18 months after the attack, and had fainted and fallen twice at home.

“When you are attacked in such a public and political way, using such threatening language, you must always fear a copycat,” Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “When I encourage people, especially women, to consider running for office, physical threats to family shouldn’t even be a factor, but they are.”

Both Paul and Nancy Pelosi said their home still had bloodstains on the floor and other signs of forced entry.

“Our home remains a heartbreaking crime scene,” Nancy Pelosi wrote.

DePape he confessed during his testimony at the trial that he broke into the Pelosis’ home on October 28, 2022, with the intention of holding the speaker hostage and “breaking her kneecaps” if she lied to him. He also admitted to beating Paul Pelosi with a hammer after police arrived, claiming his plan to end what he saw as government corruption had failed.

Defense attorneys argued that DePape was motivated by his political beliefs rather than a desire to interfere with Nancy Pelosi’s official duties as a member of Congress, rendering the charges against him invalid.

Chuang, one of his lawyers, said during closing arguments that DePape was estranged from his family and embroiled in conspiracy theories.

Sky Gonzalez, David DePape’s son, told reporters outside the courthouse that 30 years in prison is equivalent to a death sentence.

“I think it’s quite melancholy. I think that’s a really long time, because if you think about it, it’s almost 50 years elderly. It’s basically just a death sentence,” Gonzalez said, before repeating the same conspiracy theories his father had written about before the attack.

During the trial, DePape, a Canadian who moved to the United States more than 20 years ago, testified that he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about former President Donald Trump. In tirades posted to a blog and online forum that were deleted after his arrest, DePape repeated the baseless right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims the U.S. government is run by a cabal of devil-worshiping pedophiles.

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

Paul Pelosi he recalled at the hearing as he was woken up by a huge man bursting into the bedroom and asking, “Where’s Nancy?” He said that when he replied that his wife was in Washington, DePape said he would tie him up while they waited for her.

“It was a huge shock when I realized that someone had broken into the house, and looking at him, looking at the hammer and the ties, I realized that I was in grave danger, so I tried to stay as tranquil as possible,” Pelosi told jurors .

DePape is also charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, home invasion and other crimes. Jury selection in that trial is expected to begin Wednesday.

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