Man Who Invaded Nancy Pelosi’s Home Apologizes for Attacking Her Husband

Man Who Invaded Nancy Pelosi’s Home Apologizes for Attacking Her Husband

David DePape, who was convicted of federal crimes for breaking into the residence of Nancy Pelosi two years ago and beating her husband with a hammer, apologized on Tuesday for the attack and expressed remorse, as a judge briefly considered a more lenient prison sentence.

“I should have left the house when I learned Nancy Pelosi wasn’t there,” he said. “I will never do anything violent like that ever again.”

Mr. DePape made his comments in a federal courtroom in San Francisco, where the judge in the case reopened his sentencing proceedings, two weeks after initially sentencing Mr. DePape to 30 years in federal prison.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley realized after imposing the sentence that she had erred by doing so without first asking Mr. DePape whether he wished to make a statement. Judge Corley brought the parties back to court on Tuesday to give Mr. DePape the chance to speak.

The judge appeared unmoved by Mr. DePape’s apology. After hearing from him on Tuesday, she once again gave Mr. DePape a 30-year sentence, the maximum allowed by law.

Mr. DePape was convicted in November of two federal crimes: attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and assault on an immediate family member of a federal official.

Mr. DePape said he was in a dark place when he committed the crimes, but that his mental state had since improved. “I have been able to reconnect with my mom and other family members, which has allowed me to move forward,” he told the court.

David DePape was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in connection with his attack on Paul Pelosi.Credit…Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle, via Associated Press

Tuesday’s hearing was held during a hiatus in Mr. DePape’s state criminal trial, which began last week with jury selection. In state court, Mr. DePape faces several felony charges related to the attack, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday morning. If he is convicted in that trial, Mr. DePape faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

As she did at the first sentencing hearing, Judge Corley said on Tuesday that her sentence reflected both the seriousness of the crime and the need to deter politically motivated violence. She said she wanted to make sure that “there are no copycats.”

“The message has to be out there that it’s absolutely unacceptable to our democracy,” Judge Corley said.

After Mr. DePape was initially sentenced on May 17, his federal public defenders quickly filed an appeal, and opposed the judge’s reopening of the sentencing hearing. They argued that the case should immediately proceed to an appeals court, and that if a resentencing went forward, it should be handled by a different judge, “to preserve the appearance of justice.”

“The court cannot reasonably be expected to put its previously expressed conclusions aside to fairly and appropriately resentence Mr. DePape,” they wrote in a legal filing.

The attack at the Pelosis’ house in San Francisco took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 22, less than three weeks before the midterm election, and it raised fears about politically motivated violence at a particularly divisive time in America.

Mr. DePape, who was 42 at the time, broke into the house through a back door on a hunt for Ms. Pelosi, who was then the Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency. After entering the house, Mr. DePape called out repeatedly, “Where’s Nancy?”

Ms. Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., and Mr. DePape instead encountered Paul Pelosi, asleep in the couple’s bedroom. At the trial last year, Mr. Pelosi, who was 82 at the time of the attack, recounted how he was able to surreptitiously call 911 from his bathroom. When police officers arrived, they found Mr. Pelosi and Mr. DePape standing in the foyer, each with a hand on a large hammer that Mr. DePape had brought with him.

It was then, according to trial testimony and footage from police body-worn cameras, that Mr. DePape was able to take control of the hammer and bash Mr. Pelosi in the head, leaving him on the ground, bloodied. Mr. Pelosi underwent surgery for two skull fractures and spent six days in the hospital.

Mr. DePape had been a solitary figure, living on the margins of society in the San Francisco Bay Area. For a time, he slept under a tree in a park in Berkeley, Calif. In the years leading up to the attack, he spent a great deal of time immersed in online conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon.

Before announcing the sentence on Tuesday, Judge Corley acknowledged that Mr. DePape did not have a criminal or violent record before he broke into the Pelosis’ house. The judge told him that he was “particularly vulnerable” to what he was hearing in the media.

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