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Jury Finds Man Who Attacked Paul Pelosi With Hammer Guilty in State Trial

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On Friday, June 21, 2024, a San Francisco jury found David DePape guilty on five felony counts for the 2022 attack on Nancy Pelosi’s home. The jury deliberated for over two days, pausing for the Juneteenth holiday.  (Vicki Behringer for KQED)

A San Francisco jury found David Wayne DePape guilty on five felony counts related to the 2022 attack inside the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi.

As the verdict was read Friday, DePape showed little visible reaction other than to speak with his attorney.

The jury deliberated for just over two days, beginning on Tuesday before taking off Wednesday for the Juneteenth holiday. Jurors restarted their deliberations on Thursday morning and reached the verdict around 4 p.m. Friday.

DePape, 44, faces up to life without the possibility of parole.


DePape was sentenced to 30 years in prison last month after a federal jury found him guilty in November of one count of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and one count of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. After serving his sentence, he will likely be deported back to his native Canada.

Through evidence and testimony, prosecutors alleged DePape traveled from the East Bay to the Pelosis’ San Francisco home after 2 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2022, with the intent of interrogating Nancy Pelosi regarding Russiagate, a debunked conspiracy theory regarding the investigations into Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections.

Among the supplies he brought with him, DePape had a sledgehammer and GoPro cameras that prosecutors allege were to be used to maim the House speaker on camera to make a video for YouTube, where DePape was allegedly radicalized by conspiracy theory videos.

“He wanted to break her kneecaps so she would be wheeled onto the floor of Congress. So people would know there are consequences,” Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei said in her closing arguments on Tuesday. “This case is unusual.”

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Prosecutors showed jurors security camera footage from the Pelosis’ home, which showed DePape smash out a glass patio door before forcing his way through a wooden one. They heard the 911 call Paul Pelosi made from his bedroom bathroom, where he calmly said there was someone in his home with him and that person wanted him to get off the phone.

Jurors also saw body camera footage of two Capitol Police officers approaching the Pelosis’ front door in response to that 911 call, finding Paul Pelosi standing next to DePape, both gripping a handle. When commanded to put the hammer down, DePape replied, “Nope,” before swinging the hammer multiple times at Pelosi, fracturing his skull.

DePape’s public defenders admitted he was guilty of several of the charged felonies, including first-degree residential burglary and dissuading a witness.

But San Francisco Public Defender Adam Lipson argued the state failed to prove DePape guilty of kidnapping because there was nothing of value to be gained from Paul Pelosi, 82.

“It’s really unfortunate it was charged this way,” Lipson said. “It was sort of a textbook vindictive prosecution. As soon as they found out that the attempted murder charge was going to be dismissed, they added this [kidnapping] charge.”

Maffei countered that a video of the House speaker confessing in her own home to alleged crimes against the American people would have great value.

DePape told investigators his other targets included actor Tom Hanks, former Vice President Mike Pence, a professor in San Francisco and his ex-wife, Gypsy Taub, whom the judge barred from the proceedings for allegedly attempting to intimidate the jury.

Dorfman ordered Taub to stay away from the second floor of the Hall of Justice, where the trial was held after graffiti was discovered in a women’s restroom. That graffiti was the address to a website Taub said she established to cast doubt on the state’s case against DePape.

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