DePape found guilty of kidnapping by a state court

SAN FRANCISCO – A person who beat former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband to death with a hammer and was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal court was also found guilty of aggravated kidnapping in state court on Friday, which could bring him a life sentence in prison.

A jury in San Francisco also found David DePape guilty of first-degree burglary, false imprisonment of an elderly person, threatening a member of the family of a public official and deterring a witness.

The convictions on the extra charges come weeks after a federal judge sentenced DePape for the 2022 attack on Paul Pelosi. He also faces a possible life sentence.

“Speaker Pelosi and her family remain in awe of her father's bravery, which was demonstrated again on the witness stand in this trial, just as it was when he saved his own life the night of the attack,” Pelosi's office wrote in an emailed statement Friday. “For nearly 20 grueling months, Mr. Pelosi demonstrated extraordinary courage and strength on every day of his recovery.”

DePape's public defender, Adam Lipson, told the jury in his closing argument that DePape was guilty on three counts, but prosecutors had presented no evidence to convict him of threatening a member of the family of a public official and aggravated kidnapping.

Prosecutors added those two charges in late May because the trial against DePape neared its conclusion.

A federal jury convicted DePape of assaulting a member of the family of a federal official and attempting to kidnap a federal official. On May 28, in an unusual retrial that resulted from a miscarriage of justice, he was sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison. DePape will likely be deported to Canada after serving his sentence.

Lipson had previously argued that the state trial was double jeopardy following the federal conviction. Even though the fees weren’t the identical, the 2 cases were based on the identical crime, he told the judge.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman agreed, dismissing the state's charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Another judge affirmed the choice on appeal.

In his closing argument, Lipson told the jury that the prosecution had didn’t prove that DePape kidnapped Paul Pelosi, then 82, with the intent to “extort money or anything of value from another person,” a key component of the charge.

Lipson argued that the video didn’t exist and if it did, it could have had no value.

“When he broke into the Pelosi's house, his intention was to confront and possibly injure and attack Nancy Pelosi. That was his intention at the time, this has nothing to do with Mr. Pelosi,” he said.

In her rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei identified that DePape told a detective and testified in federal court that he planned to acquire a video of Nancy Pelosi by which he believed she confessed to crimes and post it on the Internet.

“There is inherent value in a video of the Speaker of the House confessing to crimes in her own home,” Maffei said.

The attack on Paul Pelosi was captured on police bodycam video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and shocked the political world. He suffered two head injuries, including a skull fracture that was repaired with plates and screws that he could have for the remaining of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

On Monday, Maffei told the jury that DePape had unleashed a “reign of terror” on Paul Pelosi after which beat him to death with a hammer as a part of a plan hatched over months.

“The bare facts of this case are horrifying in and of themselves, even without embellishment,” Maffei said. “David DePape broke into the home of an 82-year-old man while he was sleeping, entered his bedroom, held him hostage with a hammer, threatened him, threatened his wife and attempted to kill him.”

DePape admitted during his testimony in federal court that he planned to take Nancy Pelosi hostage, record his interrogation and “break her kneecaps” if she didn’t admit to the lies he said she told about “Russiagate,” a reference to the investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 presidential election.

Lipson told the jury in his closing argument that before the attack, DePape had led an isolated, lonely life and had “fallen down the rabbit hole of propaganda and conspiracy theories.”

This week, the judge removed DePape's former partner from the general public gallery and the second floor of the San Francisco courthouse because, in keeping with the judge, she tried to influence the jury.

“You attempted to corruptly influence one or more jurors,” Dorfman said sternly before asking two bailiffs to escort Taub out of the courtroom.

DePape's public defender in federal court said in the course of the sentencing in federal court that DePape was first exposed to extreme views by Taub, who has two children with DePape.

Taub met DePape in Hawaii when he was 20 and she or he was in her 30s and pregnant, DePape's twin sister, Joanne Robinson, said in a letter to the federal judge asking for leniency.

Robinson wrote that Taub isolated DePape from his family and caused her brother “extreme psychological harm.”

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