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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Instead, the defense tried to argue 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.
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.
This is a development story. Please check back for updates.
Chris Young reported from San Francisco, and David K. Li from New York City.