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Press Release

David DePape Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison After Conviction On Assault And Attempted Kidnapping Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
DePape Attempted to Kidnap Nancy Pelosi and Assaulted Paul Pelosi on Account of Her Official Duties as Then-Speaker of the House of Representatives

SAN FRANCISCO –David DePape was sentenced today to 360 months in prison following his conviction on assault and attempted kidnapping charges in connection with his Oct. 28, 2022, intrusion into the home of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The sentence was handed down by the Hon. Jacqueline Scott Corley, U.S. District Judge. U.S. Attorney Ramsey recorded a video statement commenting on today’s sentence that is available here:

“This sentence is a warning: violence against those who serve the public and their families will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who target public servants and their families with violence. In a democracy, people vote, argue, and debate to achieve the policy outcome they desire. But the promise of democracy is that people will not employ violence to affect that outcome.”

In an additional statement, U.S. Attorney Ramsey said, “David DePape, when he planned his attempted kidnapping, claimed he intended to punish the Speaker Emerita and teach Congress as a whole a lesson. He then violently assaulted Mr. Pelosi. Today’s sentence is a stern reminder to those who pursue violence against public officials and institutions that significant punishment will follow. I want to thank the FBI, the San Francisco Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police and the members of my prosecution team—including Helen Gilbert, Laura Vartain and Maddie Wachs —for bringing this matter to a swift and decisive conclusion. We hope that the conclusion of the federal case brings a measure of healing to Mr. Pelosi and his family.”

“Today’s sentencing of David DePape to a significant prison term sends a clear message that violence and intimidation have no place in our community nor our political discourse. DePape's attack, fueled by misguided ideology, underscores the dangers posed by extremist beliefs,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp. “The FBI is committed to protecting all citizens and ensuring that our democracy remains strong and resilient against those who seek to harm it.”

The evidence at trial established that weeks before the attack, DePape, 44, of Richmond, California, targeted Nancy Pelosi, who was then Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and collected personal information about her, including her home address. DePape kept the information in a computer file he labeled “favorite politicians.” DePape intended to kidnap the then-Speaker, hold her hostage, and break her kneecaps.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that on the night of the assault, DePape used public transportation to travel from the East Bay to San Francisco while carrying two backpacks that contained a hammer, sledgehammer, duct tape, rope, zip ties, and electronic items, among other items. After arriving at the Pelosi residence, DePape used the hammer to break the window of a glass door and enter the home. Then-Speaker Pelosi was not home and her husband, Paul Pelosi, was sleeping on the third floor of the home. DePape roamed the home until he found Mr. Pelosi in the third-floor bedroom.

The trial evidence demonstrated that DePape woke Mr. Pelosi and, while standing three to four feet from him holding the hammer and restraints, made various threats including, “I will take you out.” Mr. Pelosi managed to walk to his bathroom and call 9-1-1, during which he carefully used language to alert the emergency operator to the situation without agitating DePape.

Mr. Pelosi convinced defendant to go downstairs to the first floor and continued talking to DePape. When the police arrived, Mr. Pelosi opened the door and the police ordered DePape to drop the hammer he was holding. Instead, DePape struck Mr. Pelosi three times with full force, fracturing his skull. The responding officers immediately tackled Depape and took him into custody.

On November 9, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted DePape, charging him with one count of assault upon an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with the official while engaged in the performance of official duties or with intent retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties, and one count of attempted kidnapping of a United States official on account of the performance of official duties. A jury convicted DePape of both charges.

The Honorable Jacqueline Corley sentenced DePape to the statutory maximums on each count, which were 30 years in prison for the assault charge and 20 years in prison for the attempted kidnapping charge, the two sentences to run concurrently.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Corley ordered the defendant to serve five years of supervised release, to begin after the prison term and ordered that DePape will receive credit for the little over 18 months that he has been in custody since his crime.

In sentencing DePape, Judge Corley stated that DePape may still be dangerous, that his use of violence was “gratuitous,” and that because he entered the home of a politician, future would-be leaders now must consider whether entering public service through politics is worth the risk. “Because of your actions,” said Judge Corley, “we will never know what we lost.”

The National Security and Cyber Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is prosecuting the case. FBI San Francisco, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the San Francisco Police Department are investigating the case.

Updated May 17, 2024