David DePape found guilty in second trial for hammer attack on Paul Pelosi

The man who bludgeoned Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer at their San Francisco home was convicted on Friday of aggravated kidnapping, as part of a state trial that could put him behind bars for life.

The verdict marked the conclusion of a second trial for David DePape, who was previously found guilty in a federal trial over the 2022 attack. Last month, a judge sentenced DePape to 30 years in federal prison.

On Friday, a San Francisco jury also found DePape guilty, of first-degree burglary, false imprisonment of an elder, threatening a family member of a public official, dissuading a witness to the charges and aggravated kidnapping.

DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, told the jury during closing arguments that DePape was guilty of three of the charges but that prosecutors had not presented evidence to convict him of threatening a family member of a public official and aggravated kidnapping.

Prosecutors added those two charges in late May, as DePape’s federal trial was wrapping up.

A federal jury convicted DePape of assaulting a federal official’s family member and attempting to kidnap a federal official. On 28 May, he was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison during an unusual resentencing hearing that resulted from judicial error. DePape will likely be deported to Canada after he completes his punishment.

Lipson earlier argued that the state trial represented double jeopardy following the federal conviction. Even though the criminal counts are not the same, the two cases stem from the same act, he told the judge.

The San Francisco superior court judge, Harry Dorfman, agreed, and dismissed the state charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

Lipson focused his closing arguments on explaining to the jury that prosecutors did not prove DePape had kidnapped Paul Pelosi, who was 82 at the time, with the intent “to exact from another person money or something valuable”, which is integral to the charge.

Prosecutors said the valuable thing DePape wanted from the kidnapping was to create a video of Nancy Pelosi confessing to crimes he believed she had committed, prosecutors said.

Lipson argued the video did not exist and that if it did, it would not have had any value.

“When he broke into the Pelosis’ home, his intent was to confront and potentially hurt and assault Nancy Pelosi. That was his intent at that time; that has nothing to do with Mr Pelosi,” he said.

In her rebuttal, the assistant district attorney, Phoebe Maffei, pointed out that DePape told a detective and testified in federal court that he had planned to get a video of Nancy Pelosi confessing to what he believed to be crimes and post it on the internet.

“There is inherent value in a video of the speaker of the House confessing to crimes in her own home,” Maffei said.

The attack on Paul Pelosi was captured on police body-camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and shocked the political world. Pelosi suffered two head wounds, including a skull fracture that was mended with plates and screws he will have for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

On Monday, Maffei told the jury DePape unleashed a “reign of terror” on Paul Pelosi before bludgeoning him with a hammer as part of a plan he put together over months.

“The plain facts of this case are terrifying by themselves without embellishment,” Maffei said. “David DePape broke into the home of an 82-year-old man while he slept, entered his bedroom, held him hostage with a hammer, threatened him, threatened his wife and attempted to kill him.”

DePape, a rightwing conspiracy theorist, admitted during his federal trial testimony that he had planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, record his interrogation of her and “break her kneecaps” if she did not admit to the lies he said she told about “Russiagate”, a reference to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Lipson told the jury during closing arguments that before the attack, DePape had been living an isolated, lonely life and “went down the rabbit hole of propaganda and conspiracy theories”.

This week, the judge expelled DePape’s former partner, Gypsy Taub, from the courthouse because the judge said she was trying to tamper with the jury.

Taub, a well-known activist in the Bay Area, had been handing out pieces of paper outside the courtroom with the address of a website she runs that promotes conspiracy theories. The cards were also found in a women’s bathroom near the courtroom where the website’s address was scrawled in marker on a wall.

DePape’s federal public defender said during his federal sentencing that DePape had first been exposed to extreme beliefs by Taub, who has two children with DePape.


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