Man pleaded guilty to assault in hammer attack on Paul Pelosi
A San Francisco jury has convicted the man who attacked the husband of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The attacker, David Dibab, was convicted of assault and attempted kidnapping of a federal official.
The attack left Paul Pelosi, 83, in the hospital for six days with a fractured skull and other injuries.
Debab, who tearfully apologized for the attack in his testimony on Tuesday, faces up to 50 years in prison.
He was convicted Thursday after a week-long trial in Philip Burton federal court in downtown San Francisco.
As the unanimous verdict was read, he kept his eyes lowered, fidgeting with his fingers.
Video evidence shows the attacker, a Canadian citizen who has lived in the United States for 20 years, breaking into Pelosi’s San Francisco home with a hammer on October 28 last year.
Once inside, he asked about Mrs. Pelosi, who was not home at the time.
Officers responding to a 911 call from Mr. Pelosi found the two men wielding a hammer.
When he was asked to drop the weapon, Debab suddenly pointed the hammer at Pelosi before the officers could subdue him.
The entire encounter was captured on body camera footage that was played in court.
One witness, an FBI special agent, testified that the footage showed the attacker striking Pelosi three times.
In his testimony, Pelosi told the court that during the attack, Debab said his intention was to “eliminate” Ms. Pelosi, referring to her as the “leader of the group.”
In addition to a fractured skull, Pelosi suffered injuries to his arm and hand.
Debab’s court-appointed lawyer, Jodi Lenker, said that although her client attacked Pelosi, he did so because he believes in right-wing conspiracy theories “with every fiber of his being.”
Ms. Lenker said DePape blamed what he saw as America’s demise on corrupt elites who use their status to spread lies, including facilitating child sexual abuse.
She said DePape was motivated by these conspiracies rather than the position of Ms. Pelosi’s government.
However, prosecutors said Debabe was seeking out Ms. Pelosi as part of a “plan for violence.”
When he was arrested, he had ties and duct tape in his possession.
He also told investigators after the incident that he had a “hit list” and planned to detain Ms. Pelosi and break her “knees” if she did not reveal “the truth.”
Pelosi recalled on Monday that she woke up to find Debab “standing in the doorway.”
He added: “It was a huge shock when I looked at him, and looked at the gavel and the ties.” “I realized I was in serious danger. I tried to remain as calm as possible.”
At the time of the attack, Ms. Pelosi was Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of the most powerful politicians in the United States.
Debab now faces up to 20 years in prison for attempted kidnapping, plus an additional 30 years for assaulting a family member of a federal official.
DePape also faces separate state charges stemming from the incident, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and residential burglary.
He could face life in prison if convicted of the more serious state charges. He pleaded not guilty.
A statement from Ms. Pelosi’s office following Thursday’s sentencing said her husband “displayed extraordinary composure and courage on the night of the attack a year ago and in the courtroom this week.”
Pelosi “continues to make progress in his recovery,” the statement said, adding that no further comment would be made in light of ongoing government actions.