'I'm sorry': David DePape resentenced to 30 years for attack on Pelosi family

FILE - David DePape is shown in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 13, 2013. DePape, who allegedly broke into U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home and beat her 82-year-old husband in October 2022 pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Dec. 28, to six charges, including attempted murder, prosecutors said. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)
David DePape, shown in 2013, was resentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for trying to kidnap former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and brutally assaulting her husband with a hammer in October 2022. (Associated Press)

The man convicted of attempting to kidnap former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and violently attacking her husband with a hammer in an October 2022 assault issued an apology on Tuesday before a federal judge again sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

Wearing his orange jail jumpsuit and reading from a white sheet of paper while standing next to his attorneys, DePape said he felt "horrible for hurting Mr. Pelosi," and pledged to "never do anything violent like that to anyone ever again."

"I'm sorry for what I did, especially what I did to Paul Pelosi," DePape said. "I should have never hurt him."

Read more: David DePape sentenced to 30 years in attempted Nancy Pelosi kidnapping, hammer attack on husband

DePape had already been sentenced to three decades in federal prison by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley during a May 17 hearing that should have concluded a high-profile case of political extremism.

But Scott Corley agreed to reopen the sentencing hearing after federal prosecutors noted that she had forgotten to give DePape, 44, an opportunity to make a statement. Federal criminal rules of procedure require the court to “address the defendant personally in order to permit the defendant to speak or present any information to mitigate the sentence.”

Scott Corley apologized to DePape, the attorneys and victims at the start of the Tuesday hearing, saying she was "truly sorry for my mistake."

"I want to apologize for you having to be here this morning," she said. "It's completely on me."

The judge pledged to set aside her original sentencing and consider DePape's statement in her new ruling, before ultimately reimposing the 30-year sentence.

Scott Corley called the crime "unprecedented" and said it was imperative to deter "copycats" and ensure they get the message that "you cannot go and break into the speaker of the House's home and hold her spouse hostage and then assault him. Or any politician for that matter."

"The message has to be out there that it is absolutely unacceptable to our democracy," she said.

The Pelosis' daughter, Christine Pelosi, had already read victim-impact statements by her parents during the original sentencing.

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In her letter, Nancy Pelosi said her husband continues to suffer physically and emotionally from the attack, and that the violent incident “has had a devastating effect on three generations of our family.”

DePape had traveled from his Richmond, Calif., home into San Francisco on Oct. 28, 2022, in a conspiracy-fueled plan to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and "break her kneecaps" if she didn’t admit to corruption and other bogus claims of human trafficking and child abuse.

He carried a backpack full of zip ties, tape, rope and a hammer, which he used along with his own body force to smash his way into the house. But instead of finding Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington at the time, DePape wandered through the home before stumbling upon a sleeping Paul Pelosi in the couple's bedroom.

“The door opened and a very large man came in, with a hammer in one hand and some ties in the other hand,” Paul Pelosi testified during the November 2023 trial. “And he said, ‘Where’s Nancy?’ And I think that’s what woke me up.”

Paul Pelosi, then 82, was able to stall DePape long enough to dial 911 on his cellphone that he kept in the bathroom. When police arrived, the two men were struggling over DePape’s hammer. Prosecutors showed jurors graphic police body-camera video of DePape bludgeoning Paul Pelosi, fracturing his skull and seriously injuring his right arm and left hand.

A jury convicted DePape after a four-day trial on attempted kidnapping and assault charges that were narrowly focused on whether the federal crimes were directly tied to then-Speaker Pelosi's official duties in Congress. His federal public defenders, Jodi Linker and Angela Chuang, had attempted to argue their client was motivated not by Nancy Pelosi's legislative role in Congress, but by admittedly bizarre conspiracy theories that politicians and other public figures were engaged in child trafficking and sexual abuse.

In his statement to the court, DePape said he should have left the house immediately after realizing Nancy Pelosi was not at home, and added, "Looking back, I can see I was not doing well."

DePape also faces several decades in state prison on separate, local charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and threats to a public official and her family. A jury was selected in that case last week, and opening arguments are set to begin Wednesday in San Francisco.

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Linker and Chuang asked for a more lenient 14-year federal prison term, saying their client has since been diagnosed with an undisclosed mental illness and that he was traumatized from a long-term romantic relationship with the mother of his two biological children.

Linker and Chuang immediately filed an appeal of the 30-year sentence and argued against the new hearing in a sharply worded court filing that claimed the sentencing issue should be resolved in the appeal process. They also requested a new judge, accusing Scott Corley of bias against DePape when she expressed "strong views" on the crimes and their impact on the safety of public officials during the original hearing.

They also said the hearing was an unfair burden on DePape's attorneys in his state trial, and that the rescheduled sentencing hearing would cut into much-needed time for their client to consult with his new legal team.

DePape had faced a combined 50 years in federal prison: 30 years on the assault charge and 20 years for the attempted kidnapping. Scott Corley sentenced him to the maximum term on both counts, but ordered him to serve them concurrently for a total of 30 years. He will get credit for the roughly 19 months he has spent in state custody.

He faces deportation to Canada upon his release.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.