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Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

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Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer
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Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

2024-05-18 11:45 Last Updated At:11:50

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The man who broke into the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking to hold her hostage and bludgeoned her husband with a hammer was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

But prosecutors later filed a motion saying the court failed to offer the defendant, David DePape, an opportunity “to speak or present any information to mitigate the sentence" as required by federal rule. They asked the court to reopen the sentencing portion to allow him that option. The court did not immediately respond.

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Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The man who broke into the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking to hold her hostage and bludgeoned her husband with a hammer was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Gypsy Taub, ex-partner of David DePape, speaks to reporters after DePape's sentencing in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. He was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Gypsy Taub, ex-partner of David DePape, speaks to reporters after DePape's sentencing in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. He was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

FILE - Paul Pelosi attends a portrait unveiling ceremony for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 14, 2022. David DePape who was convicted last year in federal court of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home will be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Paul Pelosi attends a portrait unveiling ceremony for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 14, 2022. David DePape who was convicted last year in federal court of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home will be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – David DePape is seen, Dec. 13, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

FILE – David DePape is seen, Dec. 13, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with his assailant David DePape during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home, on Oct. 28, 2022. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with his assailant David DePape during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home, on Oct. 28, 2022. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

A jury found DePape, 44, guilty in November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. Prosecutors had asked for a 40-year prison term.

The attack on Paul Pelosi, who was 82 at the time, was captured on police body camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and sent shockwaves through the political world. He 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.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley sentenced DePape to 20 years for attempted kidnapping and 30 years for the assault, the maximum for both counts. The sentences will run concurrently. He also was given credit for the 18 months he has been in custody.

In its afternoon motion to the court, the U.S. attorney's office said DePape was not given the opportunity by the court to speak before being sentenced and that could present an issue.

DePape's defense, however, said they opposed bringing back their client to court and filed a notice of appeal, according to the filing. Prosecutors and defense counsel did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment late Friday.

The court has 14 days to correct a sentence resulting from error, prosecutors said.

DePape stood silently as he was sentenced and looked down at times. His public defense attorneys had asked the judge to sentence him to 14 years, pointing out that he was going through a difficult period in his life at the time of the attack, had undiagnosed mental health issues and had no prior criminal history.

At trial, DePape testified that he had planned to wear an inflatable unicorn costume and record his interrogation of the Democratic speaker, who was not at her San Francisco home at the time of the attack, to upload it online.

Ahead of the sentencing, one of his defense attorneys, Angela Chuang, told the judge to consider the prison terms being given to those who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

"The five most serious sentences for people who were convicted of seditious conspiracy, of literally conspiring to overthrow the government, range from 15 to 22 years," Chuang said.

Corley said the Jan. 6 analogy didn’t adequately reflect the seriousness of breaking into an official's private home. The attack may have a chilling effect on people seeking office in the future, she said.

“They have to think not only, ‘Am I willing to take that risk myself, but am I willing to risk my spouse, my children, my grandchildren?’” the judge said.

Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence on each count and for DePape to serve 10 years concurrently, giving him a 40-year prison term.

Before sentencing, Christine Pelosi read her father and mother's victim statements, explaining how the violent attack changed their lives. In Paul Pelosi's statement, he explained that 18 months after the attack, he still gets headaches and vertigo and has fainted and fallen twice at home.

“Once you are attacked in such a public and political manner, with such threatening language, you always have to fear a copycat,” Nancy Pelosi said in her statement. “When I encourage people, especially women to consider running for office, physical threats to the family should not even be a factor, but they are.”

Both Paul and Nancy Pelosi said there are still bloodstains on the floor and other signs of the break-in at their home.

“Our home remains a heartbreaking crime scene,” Nancy Pelosi wrote.

DePape admitted during trial testimony that he broke into the Pelosis’ home Oct. 28, 2022, intending to hold the speaker hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied to him. He also admitted to bludgeoning Paul Pelosi with a hammer after police showed up, saying his plan to end what he viewed as government corruption was unraveling.

Defense attorneys argued DePape was motivated by his political beliefs, not because he wanted to interfere with Nancy Pelosi’s official duties as a member of Congress, making the charges against him invalid.

Chuang, one of his attorneys, said during closing arguments that DePape was estranged from his family and was caught up in conspiracy theories.

Sky Gonzalez, David DePape’s son, told reporters outside court the 30-year prison term was equivalent to getting a death sentence.

“I think that’s quite sad. I think that’s a really long time, because if you think about it, he’s already nearly 50. Basically, it’s just a death sentence," Gonzalez said before repeating the same conspiracy theories his father wrote about before the attack.

At trial DePape, a Canadian who moved to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, testified that he believed news outlets repeatedly lied about former President Donald Trump. In rants posted on a blog and online forum that were taken down after his arrest, DePape echoed the baseless, right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory that claims a cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles runs the U.S. government.

Prosecutors said he had rope and zip ties with him, and detectives found body cameras, a computer and a tablet.

Paul Pelosi recalled at the trial how he was awakened by a large man bursting into the bedroom and asking, “Where’s Nancy?” He said that when he responded that his wife was in Washington, DePape said he would tie him up while they waited for her.

“It was a tremendous sense of shock to recognize that somebody had broken into the house, and looking at him and looking at the hammer and the ties, I recognized that I was in serious danger, so I tried to stay as calm as possible,” Pelosi told jurors.

DePape also is charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary and other felonies. Jury selection in that trial is expected to start Wednesday.

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Sergio Lopez, acting assistant agent in charge of the FBI, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of David DePape in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. DePape was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Gypsy Taub, ex-partner of David DePape, speaks to reporters after DePape's sentencing in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. He was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Gypsy Taub, ex-partner of David DePape, speaks to reporters after DePape's sentencing in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024, in San Francisco. He was found guilty last November of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

FILE - Paul Pelosi attends a portrait unveiling ceremony for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 14, 2022. David DePape who was convicted last year in federal court of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home will be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Paul Pelosi attends a portrait unveiling ceremony for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 14, 2022. David DePape who was convicted last year in federal court of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home will be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – David DePape is seen, Dec. 13, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

FILE – David DePape is seen, Dec. 13, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with his assailant David DePape during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home, on Oct. 28, 2022. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, right, fights for control of a hammer with his assailant David DePape during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home, on Oct. 28, 2022. DePape convicted of attempting to kidnap then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer is set to be sentenced in federal court Friday, May 17, 2024. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A tightly contested race in Virginia between one of America's most conservative congressmen and a challenger endorsed by former President Donald Trump is too close to call, The Associated Press said Monday.

The AP issued an advisory saying that the margin separating U.S. Rep. Bob Good and state Sen. John McGuire is likely to remain within a margin of a single percentage point. That means the race is eligible for a recount under state law.

Good, who currently trails by more than 300 votes out of nearly 63,000 cast, has said he will seek a recount if the state electoral board certifies McGuire as the winner.

McGuire’s lead has actually grown slightly since early Wednesday morning.

Good on Monday also told former Trump adviser and right-wing podcaster Steve Bannon that he will be pursuing a legal challenge to block the certification of the count in the city of Lynchburg, the largest city in the 5th Congressional District and a Good stronghold.

“Lynchburg is the big key. That can’t be certified. There’s no confidence in Lynchburg’s results,” Good said.

Good and others have claimed that the city botched the vote count by accepting ballots from a drop box after election night.

In a statement Monday, the city registrar acknowledged a procedural error but said fewer than 10 ballots, if any, were affected.

The statement from the registrar’s office says the drop box, located inside the registrar’s office, was emptied out just before 1 p.m. on Election Day. But the box was not emptied again until Friday, June 21. Seven ballots were inside.

The registrar’s statement says staffers in the registrar’s office saw multiple ballots dropped off legally in the afternoon on Election Day but did not see any ballots placed in the box after that.

Those seven ballots have since been mixed in with another batch of ballots, and the registrar has said counting has been placed on hold while they consult with the Virginia Department of Elections on what to do next.

The department of elections said in an email Monday that it’s monitoring the situation in Lynchburg. The state elections board is currently scheduled to meet July 2 to certify the results.

Only after the results are certified can Good request a recount.

McGuire, who claimed victory on election night, issued a statement Monday thanking Good for his service and suggesting that a recount or a legal challenge would be pointless and divisive.

“While I understand the desire to continue the fight, the outcome of this election will not change,” he said.

Both Good and McGuire are among Republicans who have raised concerns about election integrity in the wake of Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in his 2020 reelection defeat. Good was among more than 100 GOP House members who voted in January 2021 to object to the Electoral College count from states that Trump disputed.

In an election eve telephone rally with Trump last week, McGuire urged supporters to deliver him a margin of victory “too big to rig.”

If Good loses, he would be the first House incumbent to lose a primary challenge this year, with the exception of one race in which two incumbents faced off due to redistricting.

FILE - Rep. Bob Good, left, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, greets family members at a watch party in Lynchburg, Va.,, June 18, 2024. On Monday, June 24, 2024, The Associated Press said the race between Good and Sen. John McGuire was still too close to call. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley, File)

FILE - Rep. Bob Good, left, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, greets family members at a watch party in Lynchburg, Va.,, June 18, 2024. On Monday, June 24, 2024, The Associated Press said the race between Good and Sen. John McGuire was still too close to call. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley, File)

FILE - Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary in the state's 5th Congressional District, joins supporters, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Va. On Monday, June 24, 2024, The Associated Press said the race between McGuire and Rep. Bob Good was still too close to call. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland, File)

FILE - Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary in the state's 5th Congressional District, joins supporters, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Va. On Monday, June 24, 2024, The Associated Press said the race between McGuire and Rep. Bob Good was still too close to call. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland, File)

Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary in the state's 5th Congressional District, joins supporters Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary in the state's 5th Congressional District, joins supporters Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, speaks to supporters in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, speaks to supporters in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

Supporter Phil Hamilton places campaign signs for Rep. Bob Good, a candidate in the Republican primary for the Virginia's 5th Congressional District, along Timberlake Road in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley)

Supporter Phil Hamilton places campaign signs for Rep. Bob Good, a candidate in the Republican primary for the Virginia's 5th Congressional District, along Timberlake Road in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley)

Rep. Bob Good, left, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, greets family members at a watch party in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley)

Rep. Bob Good, left, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state's 5th Congressional District, greets family members at a watch party in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley)

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