A federal jury has convicted David DePape for the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during a break-in at their San Francisco home last year. The jury found DePape guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. DePape displayed no emotion as the verdict was delivered. The 43-year-old could face life in federal prison and still faces state charges related to the incident.
The attack occurred on October 28, 2022, resulting in Paul Pelosi, 83, sustaining a fractured skull. The jury, comprising 12 men and three women, deliberated for a total of seven hours over two days. DePape is scheduled to appear in federal court for sentencing on December 13. Additionally, he faces state charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment, and threatening the life of a public official.
The verdict was welcomed by the Pelosi family.
“The Pelosi family is very proud of their Pop, who demonstrated extraordinary composure and courage on the night of the attack a year ago,” the Pelosi family said in a statement Thursday. “Thankfully, Mr. Pelosi continues to make progress in his recovery.”
U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey said he hopes the verdicts will serve as a statement against political violence.
“What this guilty verdict on all counts sends is a clear message that regardless of what your beliefs are, what you cannot do is physically attack a member of Congress or their immediate family for their performance in their job,” Ramsey told reporters outside the courthouse in downtown San Francisco.
Protests and disruptions marked the day of the verdict, with roadblocks and closures in San Francisco due to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Meanwhile, protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza temporarily took over inbound lanes of the Bay Bridge.
DePape’s defense did not contest his breaking into the Pelosi residence and assaulting Paul Pelosi but argued a narrow point that DePape did not intend to kidnap anyone and that the attack was not specifically tied to Pelosi’s federal lawmaker status. The defense claimed that DePape wanted to use the Pelosis to reach a person referred to as “Target 1,” identified as scholar Gayle Rubin, a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.
In a surprising move, DePape took the witness stand during the trial, presenting a list of baseless allegations and grievances. The trial highlighted the impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation in contemporary politics. The verdict comes as a significant development in a case that has drawn attention to the security of public figures and the influence of false narratives.