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Paul Pelosi hammer attack: Feds claim terrorism, seek 40-year sentence for assailant

A still from policy body cam footage showing David Depape and Paul Pelosi struggle over a hammer in the threshold of a home.
A still from police footage shows David DePape and Paul Pelosi struggling over a hammer. | Source: Courtesy San Francisco Superior Court

Federal prosecutors recommended a 40-year prison sentence Friday for the man convicted of the October 2022 attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband in their San Francisco home.

According to court records, prosecutors argued David DePape should receive the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years for the charge of attempting to kidnap former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a consecutive 30 years for assaulting her spouse, Paul Pelosi, saying the crimes clearly aimed to promote terrorism.

DePape was convicted in November 2023 of trying to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and assaulting her husband, Paul, with a hammer on Oct. 28, 2022. Prosecutors say DePape wanted to hold the House Speaker hostage and break her kneecaps if she lied.

The 54-year-old defendant denied responsibility for the attack and told KTVU he was “so sorry I didn't get more of them.” Prosecutors cited DePape's statements and lack of remorse as necessitating a lengthy sentence to deter others.

“The need to promote respect for the law is particularly relevant in this case, given that the defendant's actions were an attack themselves on democracy and our institutions,” the filing reads.

DePape is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on May 17. The maximum overall sentence is tied to the separate maximums on each conviction count.