Canadian man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband gets 30 years in prison

Click to play video: 'Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband found guilty'
Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband found guilty
A jury on Thursday convicted a Canadian man, David Depape, of attempted kidnapping and assault in connection with last year’s attack on the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. DePape, who faces up to 50 years in prison, did not react as the verdict was read – Nov 16, 2023

The man convicted of attempting to kidnap then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

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’s been in custody.

DePape stood silently as Judge Corley handed the sentence and looked down at times. His public defense attorneys had asked the judge to sentence him to 14 years, pointing out that he was going through a difficult time in his life and had no prior criminal history.

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Corley said she took into account when giving DePape’s sentence the fact that he broke 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.

Click to play video: 'Canadian accused of attacking Paul Pelosi apologizes in courtroom'
Canadian accused of attacking Paul Pelosi apologizes in courtroom

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

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

The attack on Paul 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.

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Defense attorneys argued 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, said during closing arguments that DePape was caught up in conspiracy theories.

DePape grew up in Powell River, a small city on British Columbia’s northern Sunshine Coast, where residents told Global News after his arrest they remembered him as an ordinary teen and “average student.”

At trial DePape, who moved to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, testified that he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about former President Donald Trump. 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 pedophiles runs the U.S. government.

Click to play video: 'Paul Pelosi attack video released by U.S. court'
Paul Pelosi attack video released by U.S. court

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 the home at the time of the attack, to upload it online.

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

Paul 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 recognize that somebody had broken into the house, and looking at him and looking at the hammer and the ties, I recognized that I was in serious danger, so I tried to stay as calm as possible,” 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 Wednesday.

Paul 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.

—With additional files from Global News

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