In San Francisco, a federal jury on Thursday found David DePape guilty of attacking Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer during a break-in at the couple’s home last year. DePape, 43, displayed no emotion as the panel convicted him of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.
The 12 jurors, selected from a pool of 15 comprising 12 men and three women, deliberated for a total of seven hours over two days. DePape faces potential life imprisonment in the federal case and additional state charges related to the invasion of the Pelosis’ home, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment, and threatening a public official’s life.
Paul Pelosi, 83, suffered a fractured skull in the October 28, 2022, attack. The Pelosi family expressed pride in his composure and courage during the incident, stating that Mr. Pelosi continues to make progress in his recovery.
U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey hopes the verdicts will send a clear message against political violence. DePape’s lead defense attorney and prosecutors declined to answer reporters’ questions.
DePape is scheduled to return to federal court on December 13 for sentencing. The verdict was delivered amidst a chaotic morning in San Francisco, with roadblocks and closures due to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza also disrupted traffic on the Bay Bridge.
In the state court, set for November 29, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins suggested reevaluating their case in light of the successful federal prosecution. She stated confidence in their case, which includes charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and false imprisonment.
In the federal case, DePape and his defense did not contest breaking into the Pelosis’ home and assaulting Paul Pelosi with a hammer.
The defense argued that DePape did not intend to kidnap anyone and that his actions were not specifically tied to Pelosi’s role as a federal lawmaker. Instead, they claimed he sought help to reach someone identified as “Target 1,” Gayle Rubin, a Bay Area scholar and University of Michigan professor in feminist theory and queer studies.
The trial highlighted the impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation in modern politics, as DePape, unexpectedly taking the witness stand, presented baseless allegations and grievances echoing far-right circles that motivated his actions.