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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Guardian staff and agencies

David DePape apologizes for attacking Paul Pelosi and gets 30-year sentence – again

Man in navy uniform looks down street behind yellow caution tape
Police outside the home of Nancy Pelosi after her husband, Paul, was attacked in San Francisco, California, on 28 October 2022. Photograph: Arthur Dong/EPA

The man who was convicted of assaulting then US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in 2022 was re-sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday, with no change in the original sentence after the case was reopened so he could speak during his sentencing hearing, local news reported.

David DePape was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison on 17 May for forcibly entering Pelosi’s home in San Francisco early on 28 October 2022 and clubbing her husband, Paul, in the head with a hammer in a politically motivated attack.

During the original sentencing, US district judge Jacqueline Scott Corley failed to give DePape a chance to address the court, a “clear error” under the federal judicial rules, the judge wrote in a court filing the next day.

She also scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to resolve the issue, allowing DePape to speak on his own behalf. He did, apologizing for the attack, before Corley sentenced him again to 30 years in prison, reported ABC7, a local ABC affiliate in San Francisco.

In November, a jury found DePape guilty of attempting to kidnap a federal officer and assaulting an immediate family member of a federal officer. Prosecutors said the 44-year-old was driven by the far-right conspiracy theories known as QAnon.

DePape broke in through the back door in the early hours of 28 October 2022 with plans to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, interrogate her and post footage online. Instead, he found Paul Pelosi, who was 82 at the time and awoke to DePape in his bedroom with a hammer and zip ties, asking: “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?”

Paul Pelosi was able to call 911, and police officers arrived just before DePape struck him in the head multiple times with a hammer, knocking him unconscious. Pelosi required surgery for a skull fracture as well as injuries to his arm and hands after the attack, which was captured in police body-camera footage.

Paul Pelosi said his injuries have continued to affect him, according to a letter filed in court. In addition to dizziness and a metal plate that remains in his head, Pelosi said he has struggled with balance and has permanent nerve damage in his left hand.

Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives at the time of the attack, was in Washington when it occurred.

DePape had a history of promoting conspiracy theories online and had shared misinformation about Covid-19 and the January 6 insurrection, as well as false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from Donald Trump. He had been unhoused and experiencing drug abuse and mental illness in the years leading up to the attack, his ex-girlfriend told local media.

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

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