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Man who attacked Pelosi's husband with hammer gets 30 years in prison

In a politically motivated attack, David DePape forcibly entered Pelosi's home in San Francisco early in the morning on Oct 28, 2022, just a week before that year's congressional elections. At the time, Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, was in Washington.
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 20:14 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 20:14 IST

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The man who broke into former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home in 2022 and assaulted her husband with a hammer was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

In a politically motivated attack, David DePape forcibly entered Pelosi's home in San Francisco early in the morning on Oct 28, 2022, just a week before that year's congressional elections. At the time, Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, was in Washington.

DePape, who according to prosecutors was driven by the far-right conspiracy theories known as QAnon, acknowledged in trial testimony that his intention was to take Pelosi hostage.

DePape, 44, confronted Pelosi's husband, Paul, and clubbed him over the head with a hammer before police who had been called to the scene were able to subdue the attacker. A jury found DePape guilty in November of attempting to kidnap a federal officer and assaulting an immediate family member of a federal officer.

Paul Pelosi, 82, suffered skull fractures and other injuries that have continued to affect him, as he described in a letter to the judge ahead of Friday's sentencing. In addition to dizziness and a metal plate that remains in his head, Pelosi said he struggles with balance and has permanent nerve damage in his left hand.

In a separate letter, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who was the first woman to be elected House speaker, urged the judge to impose a "very long" punishment.

She noted that DePape reportedly shouted "Where's Nancy?" upon breaking into her home, echoing what some intruders yelled inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the building seeking to overturn President Joe Biden's election.

Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco federal court to sentence DePape, a Canadian national living illegally in the US, to 40 years in prison.

In court papers, the Justice Department argued that while he was not convicted of a terrorism crime, his offenses nevertheless met the definition because he was aiming to affect the government through "intimidation or coercion." Prosecutors also said DePape had not shown remorse for his actions.

DePape's court-appointed defense lawyer had asked for a sentence of 14 years, saying he had become unmoored in the years leading up to the attack due in part to an abusive relationship.

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

In a statement following Friday's sentencing, a spokesperson for Pelosi said, "The Pelosi family couldn't be prouder of their Pop and his tremendous courage in saving his own life on the night of the attack and in testifying in this case," referring to Paul Pelosi's family nickname.

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Published 17 May 2024, 20:14 IST

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