Prosecutors seek 40-year sentence for man who attacked Paul Pelosi

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The Justice Department argues that the case “presents a moment to speak to others harboring ideologically motivated violent dreams and plans.”

By Robert Klemko

May 11, 2024 at 10:38 a.m. EDT

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The Department of Justice is recommending a 40-year prison sentence for the man convicted of an October 2022 assault and attempted kidnapping after breaking into the home of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and attacking her husband.

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Federal prosecutors argue that the crimes constitute an act of terrorism under U.S. law, in a sentencing memorandum submitted Friday.

David DePape broke into then-House Speaker Pelosi’s home and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2022. DePape was searching for Nancy Pelosi, he told investigators later, but her husband was the only person inside their San Francisco home at the time, police said. Paul Pelosi, now 84, was hospitalized with a skull fracture and “serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” according to the speaker’s office.

At trial in November, DePape’s attorney, federal public defender Jodi Linker, argued that DePape’s actions were not in retaliation for Nancy Pelosi’s work as House speaker, but out of a QAnon-fueled desire to free children from the clutches of a corrupt elite class. Linker did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the sentencing recommendation.

The government disagreed, during the trial and in the 20-page sentencing memo filed Friday. Prosecutors cited federal law which includes in the definition of terrorism an offense “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct.”

In statements after his arrest, the government notes, DePape, 43, of Richmond, Calif., said he intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and break her kneecaps to show other members of Congress that “lies and corruption had a price.”

Prosecutors argue in the memo that the court bears a responsibility to use DePape’s sentence to deter others from committing political violence. The attack at the Pelosi home comes after a dramatic increase in threats against lawmakers and government officials in recent years.

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