SAN FRANCISCO — A federal jury on Thursday convicted the man who attacked Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer during a break-in at the couple’s San Francisco home.
David DePape was found guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.
DePape, 43, faces up to life behind federal bars and he’s still on the hook for state charges — attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening the life or serious bodily harm to a public official — connected to the terrifying invasion of Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home.
Paul Pelosi, 83, sustained a fractured skull in the Oct. 28, 2022, attack.
In this federal case, DePape and his defense never contested that he broke into the speaker’s home and hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer.
Instead, the defense attempted a narrow argument that DePape never intended to kidnap anyone and his actions that late night and early morning were not tied, specifically, to Pelosi’s work as a federal lawmaker.
Instead, the defense tried to claim DePape wanted to use the Pelosis to help him reach a person the government has labeled “Target 1.” That person has been identified as Bay Area scholar and University of Michigan professor Gayle Rubin, a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.
Before closing arguments commenced on Wednesday, a member of U.S. District Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s staff and a juror were in the same elevator when they overheard two people discussing the case, the court employee said.
The elevator riders apparently supported the defense’s contention that Rubin, and not the Pelosis, was DePape’s true target, according to the court employee.
That elevator-riding panelist, juror No. 3, was allowed to remain on the case and Judge Corley reminded the jury to only consider evidence heard in court.
The trial in downtown San Francisco laid bare the corrosive impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation in modern politics.
DePape surprisingly took the witness stand in his own defense on Tuesday and rattled off a long list of baseless allegations and grievances — many of which regularly echo through far right circles — that motivated him to break into Pelosi’s home.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Chris Young reported from San Francisco and David K. Li from New York City.