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Prosecutors are seeking 40 years in prison for man who attacked Pelosi’s husband

May 12, 2024, 11:25 p.m. • Last updated: May 12, 2024, 11:25 p.m

Paul Pelosi (left) and Nancy Pelosi arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Federal prosecutors are recommending a 40-year prison sentence for the man convicted of attempting to kidnap former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband with a hammer after breaking into the couple’s San Francisco home in 2022 had broken in.

In a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, prosecutors said David DePape failed to accept responsibility for his crimes and showed no remorse. They also argued that his sentencing should include a terrorism complement.

Prosecutors called DePape’s crimes “an attack on our democracy and fundamental values.”

“At a time when extremism has led to attacks on public and elected officials, this case is an opportunity to speak with others who harbor ideologically motivated violent dreams and plans,” prosecutors wrote.

DePape’s lawyers, federal defenders Jodi Linker and Angela Chuang, have asked for a 14-year sentence, citing their client’s “abusive, long-term relationship with a partner who exploited his innate vulnerabilities and immersed him in a world of extreme beliefs.” , in which reality was missing.” is not reality.”

“Their influence began at a formative and critical period in his life and extended well beyond the end of their relationship, such that he was further radicalized in the years leading up to the offending, during which he was further radicalized by his compulsive media consumption that reinforced extreme beliefs , was completely thrown off guard. “DePape’s attorneys wrote in her sentencing memorandum.

They also argued that DePape had shown remorse for his actions, pointing to his testimony in court “in which he stated that he was ‘genuinely afraid for (Mr. Pelosi’s) life.’

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday.

During DePape’s trial last year, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Vartain Horn and Helen Gilbert laid out details of DePape’s “violent plan” on the night he ran from his East Bay residence to the home in October 2022 Pelosi’s in Pacific Heights traveled.

DePape broke into the couple’s home around 2 a.m. on Oct. 28 and planned to take Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied to him, prosecutors said in their memo. Pelosi wasn’t home, but her husband Paul was there and called 911.

When police arrived, Pelosi opened the door and DePape then severely hit Pelosi three times, twice in the head, before police were able to subdue him, prosecutors said.

In court, prosecutors showed jurors graphic police body camera video of DePape beating Pelosi, fracturing the then 82-year-old man’s skull and severely injuring his right arm and left hand.

“This is the moment Paul Pelosi is attacked in his own home in the middle of the night, lying on the floor in a pool of blood,” Gilbert said in her closing argument as a still image of the moment before the attack was displayed on courtroom screens.

Jurors heard portions of a police interview in which DePape said he viewed Speaker Pelosi as the “pack leader” of Democrats and said he would “break her kneecaps” if she did not admit to corruption and other unsubstantiated allegations of human trafficking public life.

DePape’s lawyers argued that their client was inspired by elaborate and baseless conspiracy theories that may have seemed “false” but were nonetheless his deeply held beliefs.

The Pelosi home was just the first stop in a cross-country plan to target other powerful people in America who he believed were involved in QAnon-like conspiracy theories about criminal activity, Chuang said. His goal was to “eradicate the corruption of the ruling class, the cabal, put an end to the abuse of children and bring the truth to light for all.”

The jury spent a day deliberating the two federal charges before finding DePape guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee and assault on the immediate family member of a federal officer.

In letters to the judge, DePape’s mother, Shirley Jean Lawrence, pleaded with him for mercy on her son, saying he had “made a big mess.”

“How did that happen? This is not the child I raised. This is not my David,” she wrote. “I love my son very much and in my heart I know who he really is…he is not a monster.”

Times staff writer Hannah Wiley contributed to this report.