Paul Pelosi's attacker sentenced to 30 years in prison despite apology

 May 29, 2024

The man who assaulted Paul Pelosi failed to get his 30-year federal sentence reduced after apologizing for the attack at a resentencing hearing. 

David DePape, 44, initially did not receive an opportunity to speak to the court, which is required by law, during his original sentencing on May 17. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley apologized for the error at a resentencing hearing Tuesday.

"I will carefully consider anything you say this morning in determining a sentence that is appropriate," Judge Corley said.

Pelosi attacker sentenced

DePape had previously apologized during the brief trial, where he confessed to targeting Pelosi's wife, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.). He said he wanted to take Pelosi hostage and "break her kneecaps" if she lied.

“He was never my target and I’m sorry that he got hurt,” DePape said of Paul Pelosi. “I reacted because my plan was basically ruined."

Police bodycam footage captured the moments before DePape struck Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. Pelosi underwent surgery to treat a skull fracture.

DePape apologized again at the resentencing on Tuesday.

"I'm sorry for what I did, especially what I did to Paul Pelosi," he said. "I should have just left the house when I realized Nancy Pelosi wasn't home."

Judge unmoved by apology

Despite DePape's contrition, the judge said she would leave the stiff sentence in place to safeguard America's institutions.

“The message has to be out there that it’s absolutely unacceptable to our democracy,” she said.

DePape was found guilty in November of assaulting the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. He was sentenced on May 17 to concurrent 30-year and 20-year sentences.

Prosecutors wanted 40 years in prison. Defense lawyers asked for a 14-year sentence, citing DePape's mental health issues and lack of criminal history.

State trial to begin

DePape's defense lawyer Angela Chuang noted that his sentence is longer than any handed down in the January 6th cases.

“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.

The judge maintained that breaking into the home of an elected official was a more serious offense.

Opening arguments in DePape's state trial began on Wednesday. He is facing up to life in prison on charges of attempted murder and other charges.

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