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David DePape, convicted of assaulting Nancy Pelosi’s husband, is sentenced to 30 years in prison

SAN FRANCISCO — The man who broke into the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seeking to hold her hostage and bludgeoned her husband with a hammer, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison. prison.

The attack on Paul Pelosi, then 82 years old, was captured on police body camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and sent shock wave in the political world. He suffered two head injuries, including a fractured skull that was repaired with plates and screws that he will keep for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

A jury found David DePape, 44, guilty last November of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting a member of a federal official’s immediate family. Prosecutors had requested a 40-year prison sentence.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley sentenced DePape to 20 years in prison for attempted kidnapping and 30 years in prison for assault — the maximum for both charges. The sentences will run concurrently. He was also given credit for 18 months of detention.

DePape remained silent as he was sentenced and sometimes looked down. His defense lawyers had asked the judge to sentence him to 14 years in prison, pointing out that he was going through a difficult time in his life at the time of the attack, that he suffered from undiagnosed mental health problems and that he had no criminal history.

At trial, DePape said he planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and record his interrogation of the Democratic president, who was not at her San Francisco home at the time of the attack, to put it online.

Before the sentencing, one of his lawyers, Angela Chuang, asked the judge to take into account the prison sentences imposed on those who participated in the case. Attack of January 6, 2021 at the Capitol.

“The five harshest sentences for people convicted of seditious conspiracy, literal conspiracy to overthrow the government, range from 15 to 22 years,” Chuang said.

Corley said the Jan. 6 analogy did not adequately reflect the severity of the intrusion into a public official’s private home. The attack could have a deterrent effect on future candidates for office, she said.

“They not only have to ask themselves, ‘Am I willing to take this risk myself, but am I willing to risk my spouse, my children, my grandchildren?’ “, declared the judge.

Prosecutors requested the maximum sentence for each count and that DePape serve a concurrent 10-year sentence, giving him a 40-year prison term.

Before the sentencing, Christine Pelosi read victim impact statements from her father and mother, explaining how the violent attack changed their lives. In his statement, Paul Pelosi explained that 18 months after the attack, he still suffers from headaches and dizziness and has fainted and fallen twice at home.

“Once you are attacked in such a public and political way, with such threatening language, you always have to fear a copycat,” Nancy Pelosi said in her statement. “When I encourage people, especially women, to consider running for office, physical threats to family shouldn’t even be a factor, but they are. »

Paul and Nancy Pelosi said there were still blood stains on the floor and other signs of a break-in in their home.

“Our home remains a heartbreaking crime scene,” Nancy Pelosi wrote.

DéPape admitted during trial testimony that he broke into Pelosis house on October 28, 2022, with the intention of taking the speaker hostage and “breaking her kneecaps” if she lied to him. He also admitted to bludgeoning Paul Pelosi with a hammer after police arrived, saying his plan to end what he saw as government corruption was falling apart.

Defense attorneys argued that DePape was motivated by his political beliefs, not because he wanted to interfere with Nancy Pelosi’s official duties as a member of Congress, thereby rendering the charges against him invalid.

Chuang, one of his lawyers, said during closing arguments that DePape was estranged from his family and involved in conspiracy theories.

Sky Gonzalez, David DePape’s son, told reporters outside court that the 30-year prison sentence was the equivalent of a death sentence.

“I think it’s quite sad. I think that’s a very long time, because if you think about it, it’s already almost 50 years old. Basically, it’s just a death sentence,” Gonzalez said before repeating the same conspiracy theories his father brought up before the attack.

At trial, DePape, a Canadian who moved to the United States more than 20 years ago, testified that he believed the media repeatedly lied about former President Donald Trump. In rants posted to a blog and online forum that were deleted after his arrest, DePape echoed the baseless right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles runs the U.S. government.

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

Paul Pelosi recalled to trial how he was awakened by a tall man bursting into the room and asking, “Where’s Nancy?” He said that when he responded that his wife was in Washington, DePape said he would tie her up while they waited for him.

“It was a huge shock to recognize that someone had broken into the house, and looking at him, looking at the hammer and the zip ties, I realized I was in great 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 crimes. Jury selection in that trial is expected to begin Wednesday.

News Source : apnews.com
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