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News / Nation & World

Man convicted in attack on Paul Pelosi

Husband of former House speaker was assaulted in home

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press
Published: November 16, 2023, 4:21pm

SAN FRANCISCO — A jury on Thursday convicted the man who broke into former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home last year of federal charges for seeking to hold her hostage and attacking her husband with a hammer.

Jurors deliberated for about eight hours before finding David DePape guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. DePape, who faces up to 50 years in prison, did not react as the verdict was read.

The attack on then-82-year-old Paul Pelosi that was captured on police body camera video just days before the midterm elections sent shockwaves through the political world.

DePape, 43, admitted during trial testimony that he broke into the Pelosis’ home on Oct. 28, 2022, intending to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied to him. He also admitted to bludgeoning Paul Pelosi with a hammer after San Francisco police officers showed up at the home, saying his plan to end what he viewed as government corruption was unraveling.

Defense attorneys argued that DePape was motivated by his political beliefs, not because he wanted to interfere with Nancy Pelosi’s official duties as a member of Congress, making the charges against him invalid. One of his attorneys, Angela Chuang, told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday that DePape was caught up in conspiracies.

At a news conference outside the federal courthouse where the verdict was read, U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey told reporters: “People can believe what they want and engage in passionate debate. But this guilty verdict on all counts sends a clear message that regardless of what your beliefs are, what you cannot do is physically attack a member of Congress or their immediate family for the performance of their job.”

Defense attorneys did not comment on the verdict.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. A status hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

DePape, a Canadian citizen who moved to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, also is charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies. A state trial date will be set during a Nov. 29 hearing, said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. She said her office will confer with federal prosecutors and the Pelosis to determine next steps.

During his testimony, DePape echoed right-wing conspiracy theories and told jurors he had planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and record his interrogation of Nancy Pelosi to upload it online. Prosecutors say he had rope and zip ties with him. Detectives also found body cameras, a computer and a tablet.