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Paul Pelosi attacker sentenced to 30 years in prison

<i>Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A federal judge sentenced David DePape
Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
A federal judge sentenced David DePape

By Veronica Miracle and Jeffrey Kopp, CNN

(CNN) — A federal judge on Friday sentenced David DePape to 30 years in prison, after he was convicted in the violent October 2022 attack on Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul.

DePape was sentenced to 30 years for assault and 20 years for attempted kidnapping, which will run concurrently.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who presided over DePape’s trial for the Northern District of California, said she had to “ensure that the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offense.”

“He broke into the home of an official and violently attacked the public official’s spouse. That act is unprecedented,” she said.

In November, a jury found DePape guilty in a San Francisco federal court of one count of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and a second count of attempted kidnapping of a federal official, CNN previously reported.

At the time, DePape’s attorneys conceded that their client attacked the then-83-year-old Paul Pelosi, but argued that his motivation for the assault did not match the charges against him.

Testifying in his own defense, DePape gave jurors a closer look at his motives before the attack, becoming emotional at times as he shared examples of conspiracy theories he felt were true.

DePape recalled that he was looking for Nancy Pelosi and that her husband had not been on his list of targets. He was “surprised and confused,” he testified, when he found out that the congresswoman was not home.

“I’m telling him, ‘I have other targets, but if you stop me, I’ll go through you,’” DePape said, recounting a conversation with Paul Pelosi, adding that he then reacted and hit Pelosi “in the head,” because his plan was “basically ruined.”

In his testimony, Pelosi recounted how he awoke from sleep the night of the attack to see a man with a hammer in his home. That man, later identified by police as DePape, asked where his wife was. “She’s not here. She’s in Washington,” Pelosi recalled answering.

He was violently struck in the head following a struggle with DePape, Pelosi said.

Pelosi, who underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and injuries to his hand and arm, told jurors that his recovery has been difficult, with spells of lightheadedness and headaches. “I’ve made the best effort I possibly can to not revisit this,” he said at the time.

In a statement filed with the court, Speaker Emerita Pelosi said the attack on her husband “has had a devastating effect on three generations of our family.” Pelosi added that “the break-in and violation of our domestic tranquility is having a long-lasting impact.”

A state case against DePape that includes charges of attempted murder, burglary and assault is expected to go to trial this summer.

This story has been updated with more information.

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