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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal jury on Thursday convicted the man who attacked Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer during a break-in last year at the couple’s San Francisco home.
David DePape looked down and showed no emotion as the panel found him guilty of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official.
The 12 jurors were pulled from a pool of 15 jurors and alternates comprising 12 men and three women. They deliberated for seven hours over two days, about 4½ hours on Wednesday and 2½ hours on Thursday.
DePape, 43, faces up to life in federal prison, and he still faces state charges — attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening the life of or serious bodily harm to a public official — connected to the terrifying invasion of the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights home.
Paul Pelosi, 83, sustained a fractured skull in the Oct. 28, 2022, attack.
“The Pelosi family is very proud of their Pop, who demonstrated extraordinary composure and courage on the night of the attack a year ago,” the Pelosi family said in a statement Thursday. “Thankfully, Mr. Pelosi continues to make progress in his recovery.”
U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey said he hopes the verdicts will serve as a statement against political violence.
“What this guilty verdict on all counts sends is a clear message that regardless of what your beliefs are, what you cannot do is physically attack a member of Congress or their immediate family for their performance in their job,” Ramsey told reporters outside the courthouse in downtown San Francisco.
The prosecutors declined to answer reporters’ questions.
DePape’s lead defense attorney also declined to answer questions as she left the courthouse.
DePape is due back in federal court Dec. 13, when the sides will set a date for sentencing.
The verdict came at the tail end of a chaotic Thursday morning in San Francisco.
Commuters faced roadblocks and closures throughout California’s fourth-biggest city as it hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
And about 6 miles northwest of the courthouse, protesters demanding a cease–fire in Gaza took over inbound lanes of the Bay Bridge — the famed span that connects Oakland and San Francisco.
DePape’s next date in state court is Nov. 29, and San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins seemed to hint that her case might not go forward in the wake of the successful federal prosecution.
“We will confer with the federal prosecutors, and with the victim in this case, as we determine what our next steps in the state case will be,” Jenkins said in a statement.
“Mr. DePape is facing a different set of charges in our case, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and false imprisonment. We are confident in our case and are prepared to move forward to trial,” she said.
In the federal case, DePape and his defense never contested that he broke into the Pelosis’ home and hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer.
Instead, the defense tried attempted a narrow argument that DePape never intended to kidnap anyone and that his actions that late night and early morning were not tied specifically to Pelosi’s work as a federal lawmaker.
The defense tried to claim that DePape wanted to use Pelosi and her husband to help him reach a person the government has labeled “Target 1.” That person has been identified as Bay Area scholar and Gayle Rubin, a University of Michigan professor who is a leading academic in feminist theory and queer studies.
Before closing arguments began Wednesday, a member of U.S. District 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, not Pelosi or her husband, was DePape’s true target, the court employee said.
The panelist, juror No. 3, was allowed to remain on the case, and Corley reminded the jury to consider only 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 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 the Pelosis’ home.
Chris Young reported from San Francisco and David K. Li from New York City.
Chris Young is a field producer for NBC News.
David K. Li is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
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