David DePape found guilty in Paul Pelosi hammer attack case

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury on Thursday convicted the man who attacked Paul Pelosi, husband of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer during a burglary last year at the couple’s home in San Francisco.

David DePape looked down and showed no emotion, which the panel found him guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.

The unanimous verdicts were reached by the panel of 12, drawn from a pool of 15 jurors and alternates that consisted of 12 men and three women. They deliberated for seven hours over two days, about 4 1/2 hours on Wednesday and 2 1/2 hours on Thursday.

DePape, 43, faces life in federal prison and is still on the hook for state charges — attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening life or serious bodily injury to a public official — linked to the terrifying invasion of Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home.

Paul Pelosi, 83, suffered a fractured skull in the attack on October 28, 2022.

David DePape in Berkeley, California, in 2013.
David DePape in Berkeley, California on December 13, 2013.Michael Short / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images file

“The Pelosi family is very proud of their pop, who showed extraordinary calm and courage the night of the attack one year ago,” according to a Pelosi family statement on Thursday. “Thankfully, Mr. Pelosi continues to make progress in his recovery.”

U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey said he hopes the sentences will serve as a statement against political violence.

“What this guilty verdict on all counts sends is a clear message that no matter what your beliefs, 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.

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Prosecutors declined to answer reporters’ questions.

DePape’s lead defense attorney also declined to answer reporters’ questions as she left the courthouse.

DePape is due back in federal court on Dec. 13, when the parties will set a sentencing date.

The verdict came at the end of a chaotic Thursday morning in San Francisco.

Commuters faced roadblocks and closures across California’s fourth-largest city as it hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

And about 6 miles northwest of the courthouse, protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza took over inbound lanes of the Bay Bridge — the famous span that connects Oakland and San Francisco.

His next date in state court is Nov. 29, and San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins appeared to hint that her case may not proceed in the wake of this successful federal prosecution.

“We will confer with the federal prosecutors and with the victim in this case as we determine what our next steps in the state case will be,” Jenkins said in a statement.

“Mr. DePape faces a different set of charges in our case, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and false imprisonment. We are confident in our case and prepared to proceed to trial.”

In this federal case, DePape and his defense never disputed that he broke into the Pelosis’ home and hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer.

Instead, the defense tried a narrow argument that DePape never intended to kidnap anyone and his actions that late night and early morning were not specifically tied to Pelosi’s work as a federal lawmaker.

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The defense tried to allege that DePape wanted to use Pelosi and her husband to help him reach someone the government has labeled “Target 1.” That person has been identified as Bay Area researcher and University of Michigan professor Gayle Rubin, a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.

Body cam footage of David DePape, left, moments before he attacked Paul Pelosi at his San Francisco home.
Bodycam footage of David DePape, left, moments before he attacked Paul Pelosi at his San Francisco home.San Francisco Police

Before closing arguments began Wednesday, a member of U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s staff and a juror were in the same elevator when they overheard two people discussing the case, court staff said.

The elevator riders apparently supported the defense’s contention that Rubin, and not Pelosi or her husband, was DePape’s true target, according to court staff.

That panelist, Juror No. 3, was allowed to remain on the case, and Corley reminded the jury to consider only evidence heard in court.

The trial in downtown San Francisco revealed the corrosive effect of conspiracy theories and misinformation in modern politics.

DePape surprisingly took the stand in his own defense Tuesday, rattling off a litany of baseless allegations and complaints — many of which regularly echo through far-right circles — that motivated him to break into Pelosi’s home.

Chris Young reported from San Francisco, and David K. Li from New York City.