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US: 30 years for man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband

May 17, 2024

A man convicted of trying to kidnap then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband late in 2022 has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Paul Pelosi was 82 at the time.

A screenshot of Capitol Police security footage shows David DePape outside the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on October 28, 2022, in San Francisco, California
In security footage, David DePape is seen outside the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San FranciscoImage: U.S. San Francisco District Attorney via REUTERS

A US judge handed a 30-year prison sentence to the man convicted of breaking into Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home and attacking her husband with a hammer, in a bid to kidnap the then Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The crime, parts of which were caught on police bodycamera as officers intervened, made major waves in the US in the immediate run-up to the 2022 midterm elections. 

The 44-year-old David DePape was found guilty by jurors last November. 

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley gave him two sentences, one of 20 years and another of 30, but they will run concurrently. His roughly 18 months already spent in custody will count towards the total. 

The proseuction had called for a 40-year sentence, the defense for 14 years, pointing to the man's prior clean criminal record and saying he had been going through a difficult period.

Why did DePape attack Pelosi's husband?

DePape's original target was Nancy Pelosi, and he told the court he planned to smash her kneecaps if she did not admit to her party's "lies."

Arriving at her home armed with rope, gloves and duct tape, DePape instead encountered her then 82-year-old husband, Paul, and kept asking, "Where's Nancy?"

During what DePape told officers was a "pretty amicable" conversation with Paul Pelosi, the husband managed to call for help from law enforcement officers.

A screenshot from a police body camera video shows David DePape lifting a hammer to strike Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in the couple’s house
A screenshot from a police body camera shows David DePape attacking Paul PelosiImage: U.S. San Francisco District Attorney via REUTERS

But moments later, in scenes captured by police body cam, DePape struck Pelosi with a hammer before officers rushed him and took the weapon away.

Pelosi was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured skull. He spent nearly a week in the hospital undergoing surgery.

Nancy Pelosi was not at home the night of the attack. At the time of the October 2022 attack, her position as House Speaker meant she was second in line to the presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris and a regular target of far-right conspiracy theories.

dh/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)