Judge Reopens Sentencing Hearing for Man Who Attacked Pelosi’s Husband

Judge Reopens Sentencing Hearing for Man Who Attacked Pelosi’s Husband

A judge reopened on Saturday a sentencing hearing for the intruder who bludgeoned Nancy Pelosi’s husband two years ago, admitting that the court had not given the defendant a chance to make a statement.

David DePape was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in federal prison for breaking into the San Francisco home of Ms. Pelosi, who was speaker of the House at the time, and attacking her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer. But it was a mistake to not ask Mr. DePape beforehand if he had anything to say, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley acknowledged in a court order, setting a May 28 date to reopen the hearing to allow Mr. DePape to make a statement.

During Friday’s hearing, Judge Corley wrote, “no party brought to the court’s attention” that it had not allowed Mr. DePape to speak, a requirement of federal criminal procedures. “As the court did not do so, it committed clear error,” she wrote.

The error is unlikely to alter the sentence, but Mr. DePape will now have the opportunity to make a case for a more lenient one. The error was noticed by prosecutors on Friday afternoon, shortly after the sentence was read, and they quickly notified the court. Mr. DePape’s lawyers promptly filed an appeal.

Mr. DePape was convicted at trial last November of two federal crimes for the attack: attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and assault on an immediate family member of a federal official. On Friday, Judge Corley imposed the maximum sentence allowed by law — 20 years for the kidnapping charge and 30 years for the assault offense, to run concurrently, with credit for time served.

Public defenders representing Mr. DePape had asked for a total sentence of 14 years, saying he had taken responsibility for his actions and that he had been manipulated both by his partner, who they said was abusive, and by online conspiracy theories.

While Mr. DePape was not given the chance to speak, the court did hear from Christine Pelosi, a daughter of Nancy and Paul Pelosi, who read statements on behalf of her parents about how the crimes have traumatized the family.

Nancy Pelosi’s statement said, “our home remains a heartbreaking crime scene.” Mr. Pelosi described the lingering effects of his injuries — he suffered two skull fractures and underwent surgery — and said the family still has not been able to completely remove the blood stains from the floor of their home.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2022, Mr. DePape burst into the couple’s home with a hammer and cried out repeatedly, “Where’s Nancy?” Ms. Pelosi, then second in line to the presidency, was in Washington. Mr. Pelosi, 82 at the time, was home in bed.

When the police arrived, Mr. Pelosi and Mr. DePape were standing in the foyer of the home, each with a hand on the large hammer. It was then that Mr. DePape wrestled control of the weapon and bludgeoned Mr. Pelosi in the head, leaving him on the ground in a pool of his own blood.

Mr. DePape also faces a trial in state court on several felony charges related to the attack, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. Jury selection in that case is scheduled to begin on May 22.

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