Man convicted of attacking Nancy Pelosi’s husband with hammer sentenced to jail

17 May 2024, 19:24

David DePape
Pelosi Husband Attacked. Picture: PA

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

The man convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley handed down the sentence for David DePape, 44, whom jurors found guilty last November of 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 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 has been in custody.

Paul Pelosi
Paul Pelosi was injured in the attack (J Scott Applewhite/AP)

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

He also admitted to bludgeoning Mr 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 video just days before the midterm elections and sent shockwaves through the political world.

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

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

Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with David DePape
Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with David DePape (San Francisco Police Department via AP)

In rants posted on a blog and online forum that were taken down after his arrest, DePape echoed the baseless, right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory that claims a cabal of devil-worshipping paedophiles runs the US government.

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.

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 that when he responded that his wife was in Washington, 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.

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

Mr Pelosi suffered two head wounds in the attack, including a skull fracture that was mended with plates and screws he will have for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

By Press Association

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