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David DePape found guilty in state trial over Paul Pelosi attack

Written by on June 22, 2024

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(BERKELEY, Calif.) — A California jury has found David DePape guilty on all charges in the state trial over the hammer attack against Paul Pelosi, following his federal conviction for the 2022 assault, prosecutors said.

The jury began deliberations Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco, with the court dark on Wednesday, before reaching a verdict Friday afternoon.

DePape, 44, was charged with false imprisonment of an elder by violence or menace, residential burglary, threatening a family member of a public official, dissuading a witness by force or threat and aggravated kidnapping, which carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the conviction ensures that DePape “will face consequences for his heinous crimes against the Pelosi family and our democracy.”

“I would like to thank all of the law enforcement agencies that collaborated with us to ensure that justice was done,” Jenkins said in a statement Friday. “I would also like to thank the family for their courage and resilience. I hope that this verdict brings them ameasure of closure as they continue to heal from this tragic ordeal.”

DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, said they were disappointed by the verdict.

“I don’t believe that this was a kidnapping for ransom, I think that it’s really unfortunate that he was charged this way,” Lipson told reporters, adding that his client had lived a “very isolated” life and had gotten “wrapped up in a lot of conspiracy theory-type situations.”

DePape did not testify during the three-week state trial. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During the trial, the judge dismissed three other charges DePape initially faced — attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse — after the defense argued that the counts fell under double jeopardy following the defendant’s conviction in the federal trial over the attack against former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, according to the AP.

His public defender had argued there was not enough evidence to convict DePape of threatening a family member of a public official and aggravated kidnapping, according to the AP.

“There is not much of a dispute to the facts of the case, but there is a tremendous dispute as to what charges apply and what don’t,” Lipson told the jury during his closing argument, according to the AP.

Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei told jurors during her closing argument that the “plain facts of this case are terrifying by themselves without embellishment,” the AP said.

“David DePape broke into the home of an 82-year-old man while he slept, entered his bedroom, held him hostage with a hammer, threatened him, threatened his wife, and attempted to kill him,” Maffei said, according to the AP.

Paul Pelosi testified during the state trial that on the night of the attack, DePape woke him by asking, “Are you Paul Pelosi?” and had a hammer and zip ties, according to KGO.

“He seemed very intent on what he was going to do,” Paul Pelosi said, according to KGO.

On the impact of the attack, Paul Pelosi said he has had two falls since the incident and that it is better for his mental health not to discuss it, according to KGO.

The verdict in the state trial follows DePape’s sentencing in May in the federal case, when he was convicted of seeking to hold former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hostage and attacking her husband with a hammer.

A judge sentenced DePape to 30 years in federal prison on May 17. However, the sentencing was reopened after prosecutors noted that the defendant was never formally given the opportunity to address the court during his sentencing. He was again sentenced to 30 years in prison at a hearing two weeks later, during which he apologized for the attack.

“I’m sorry for what I did, especially what I did to Paul Pelosi,” he said during the resentencing hearing, according to KGO. “I should have just left the house when I realized Nancy Pelosi wasn’t home.”

DePape’s attorneys filed a brief notice of appeal following his initial sentencing in the federal case.

A federal jury found DePape guilty in November 2023 of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee, and assault of an immediate family member of a federal official.

DePape admitted during the federal trial that he was looking for Nancy Pelosi to question her about Russian influence on the 2016 election and planned to hold her hostage, but only Paul Pelosi was at their San Francisco home when he broke in on Oct. 28, 2022.

Paul Pelosi said on the stand during the federal trial that DePape repeatedly asked him, “Where is Nancy?”

DePape hit Paul Pelosi, then 82 years old, with a hammer, causing major injuries, including a skull fracture, but told the court that Paul Pelosi was “never my target.”

“I’m sorry that he got hurt,” DePape said during the federal trial. “I reacted because my plan was basically ruined.”

The incident was captured on police body camera video by officers who responded to the scene.

Paul Pelosi was hospitalized for six days following the attack and underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

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