Federal Judge Reopens Sentencing Hearing for Pelosi Attacker David DePape

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
May 21, 2024US News
Federal Judge Reopens Sentencing Hearing for Pelosi Attacker David DePape
David DePape. (California DMV)

A federal judge will reopen the sentencing hearing for David DePape, the man convicted of assaulting Paul Pelosi, after failing to let him speak during the initial proceeding, according to an order.

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley of the Northern District of California issued the order over the weekend in response to a motion filed by prosecutors on May 17.

The decision comes just days after Judge Corley sentenced Mr. DePape, a Canadian who moved to the United States over 20 years ago, to a total of 30 years in prison.

The sentence comprises 20 years for one count, related to breaking into the San Francisco home of Mr. Pelosi, 82, and his wife, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He also received 30 years for another count, related to his admitting that he intended to hold Ms. Pelosi hostage.

The sentences will run concurrently. He was also given credit for the 18 months that he has been in custody.

During the sentencing hearing on May 17, the court failed to allow Mr. DePape, 44, an opportunity to speak or present information that could mitigate his sentence, a requirement under federal law. This law requires that the court “address the defendant personally in order to permit the defendant to speak or present any information to mitigate the sentence.”

Neither party brought this oversight to the court’s attention at the time.

Judge Corley acknowledged that it was the court’s responsibility to personally ask Mr. DePape if he wished to speak, and the failure to do so constituted a “clear error.”

“Assuming the defendant represents on appeal he would have spoken if personally asked, this error will almost certainly result in remand for resentencing,” Judge Corley wrote in her order. “So, rather than wait for that remand, the Court will reopen the sentencing to permit Mr. DePape to speak should he wish.”

The prosecutors requested that the court reopen the sentencing hearing and stated that the court has 14 days to correct the sentencing. Its filing states that when prosecutors informed defense counsel that they planned to file a motion to bring Mr. DePape back into court and “ask him on the record if he wished to speak,” the defense instead chose to file a notice of appeal. The defense later informed the prosecution that it opposed their motion.

Despite the notice of appeal, the court scheduled the reopened sentencing hearing for May 28 at 9:30 a.m. and requested any response from the defense by noon on May 22.

Judge Corley clarified that the filing of an appeal does not remove the court’s jurisdiction to correct clear errors that facilitate appellate review.

During the trial, Mr. Pelosi testified that he was awakened in his bedroom by Mr. DePape saying, “Where’s Nancy?”

“It was a tremendous sense of shock to recognize that somebody had broken into the house, and looking at him and looking at the hammer and the ties, I recognized that I was in serious danger, so I tried to stay as calm as possible,” Mr. Pelosi told jurors.

Mr. Pelosi managed to call the police, and after they arrived, Mr. DePape struck him in the head. Mr. Pelosi sustained serious injuries, including a skull fracture. In a letter to the judge before sentencing, Mr. Pelosi detailed that he still bears scars, suffers from near-daily headaches, and experiences dizziness as a result of the attack.

“I need to sleep during the day and cannot tolerate bright lights or loud noises for extended periods of time,” he wrote, asking for the maximum sentence, 50 years, to be imposed.

NTD Photo
Authorities on Friday released police bodycamera footage showing Paul Pelosi being attacked in his home last October. (San Francisco Police Department)

Mr. DePape confessed during his testimony to attacking Mr. Pelosi with a hammer after breaking into his residence in the early hours of Oct. 28, 2022. He stated that his plan was to take the speaker hostage and “break her kneecaps” if she lied to him.

He intended to wear a unicorn costume and record an interrogation of Ms. Pelosi to post online. He was found with rope, zip ties, cameras, and a computer, according to court documents.

He explained to police officers after his arrest that if this occurred and she appeared in Congress in a wheelchair, it would serve as a warning to other members about the consequences of their actions. He described Ms. Pelosi as the “leader of the pack of [expletive] liars.”

Prosecutors sought a 40-year prison sentence for Mr. DePape, citing domestic terrorism. Defense attorneys argued he was influenced by conspiracy theories and political beliefs. Mr. DePape testified that he planned to target others after Ms. Pelosi, including President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, billionaire George Soros, actor Tom Hanks, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

His blog featured anti-Semitic views and opposition to Jesus. Mr. DePape believed news outlets lied about former President Donald Trump.

Mr. DePape was convicted by a federal jury in November 2023.

The Epoch Times contacted the prosecutors and Mr. DePape’s public defenders for comment.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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