Pelosi attacker sentenced to 30 years in jail

David DePape forcibly entered the Pelosi home in San Francisco in 2022

David DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault of an immediate family member of a federal official. AP
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The man convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley handed down the sentence for David DePape, whom jurors found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault of an 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.

In a politically motivated attack, David DePape forcibly entered the Pelosi home in San Francisco early in the morning on October 28, 2022, a week before that year's congressional elections.

At the time, Ms Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, was in Washington.

Ms Corley said she took into account when giving DePape’s sentence the fact that he had broken into the home of public official, an unprecedented act in the history of the country.

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

Before sentencing, Christine Pelosi read victim statements on behalf of her father and mother, explaining how the violent attack changed their lives.

DePape, who according to prosecutors was driven by the far-right QAnon conspiracy theories, acknowledged in trial testimony that his intention was to take Ms Pelosi hostage.

He confronted Ms Pelosi's husband, Paul, and clubbed him over the head with a hammer before police who had been called to the scene were able to subdue him.

Mr Pelosi suffered skull fractures and other injuries that have continued to affect him, as he described in a letter to the judge ahead of Friday's sentencing.

In addition to dizziness and a metal plate that remains in his head, Mr Pelosi said he struggles with balance and has permanent nerve damage in his left hand.

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

She noted that DePape reportedly shouted “Where's Nancy?” upon breaking into her home, echoing what some intruders yelled inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the building seeking to overturn President Joe Biden's election.

In court papers, the Justice Department argued that while he was not convicted of a terrorism-related 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.

DePape's court-appointed defence lawyer had asked for a sentence of 14 years, saying he had become “unmoored” in the years leading up to the attack due in part to an abusive relationship.

He still faces separate state charges stemming from the Pelosi break-in and attack, including attempted murder, that carry a potential sentence of 13 years to life in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Updated: May 17, 2024, 7:59 PM