Canadian David DePape sentenced to 30 years for attacking Paul Pelosi


The man convicted of attempting to kidnap then-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, who grew up in Powell River, B.C., before moving to the U.S., 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 admitted during trial testimony that he broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on 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.

WATCH | Body camera footage from the night of the attack:

Defence 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 left Canada roughly 20 years ago to follow an older girlfriend to San Francisco.

At trial, DePape testified that he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about former U.S. president Donald Trump. In rants posted on a blog and online forum that were taken down after his arrest, he echoed the baseless, right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory that claims a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles runs the U.S. government.

Two people in formal clothing speaking into a microphone during an interview.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul Pelosi arrive for the State Dinner with President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

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.

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,” Paul 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.



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