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Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband also found guilty of kidnapping and faces life in prison

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and husband Paul Pelosi arrive for the State Dinner with U.S. President Joe Biden and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo) Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and husband Paul Pelosi arrive for the State Dinner with U.S. President Joe Biden and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)
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SAN FRANCISCO -

A man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in the attack against former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was convicted Friday of aggravated kidnapping, a conviction that mandates life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

A San Francisco jury found David DePape also guilty of first-degree burglary, false imprisonment of an elder, threatening a family member of a public official and dissuading a witness.

The convictions on the additional charges come weeks after a federal judge sentenced DePape for the 2022 attack against Paul Pelosi.

"Speaker Pelosi and her family remain in awe of their Pop's bravery, which shone through again on the witness stand in this trial just as it did when he saved his own life on the night of the attack," Pelosi's office wrote in an emailed statement Friday. "For nearly 20 grueling months, Mr. Pelosi has demonstrated extraordinary courage and fortitude every day of his recovery."

DePape's public defender Adam Lipson said he was disappointed with the verdict and plans to appeal it. He called the prosecutors' decision to file a kidnapping for ransom charge "vindictive."

"It's really unfortunate that it was charged this way. It was sort of a textbook vindictive prosecution," Lipson said. "As soon as they found that the attempted murder charge was going to be dismissed, they added this charge."

Lipson earlier argued that the state trial represents double jeopardy following the federal conviction. Even though the criminal counts are not the same, the two cases stem from the same act, he told the judge.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman agreed and dismissed the state charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Another judge upheld the decision on appeal.

Lipson said that the verdict means that after DePape serves 30 years in federal prison, he will be transferred to California "to spend the rest of his life in a California prison."

Previously, a federal jury convicted DePape of assaulting a federal official's family member and attempting to kidnap a federal official. On May 28, he was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison during an unusual resentencing hearing that resulted from judicial error.

David DePape is shown in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 13, 2013. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

Lipson focused his closing arguments on explaining to the jury that prosecutors did not prove DePape kidnapped Paul Pelosi, who was 82 at the time, with the intent "to exact from another person money or something valuable," which is integral to the charge.

Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei told the jury in her closing arguments that DePape had planned to record a video of his interrogation of Nancy Pelosi.

Lipson argued the video didn't exist and if it did, it wouldn't have had any value.

"When he broke into the Pelosis' home his intent was to confront and potentially hurt and assault Nancy Pelosi. That was his intent at that time, that has nothing to do with Mr. Pelosi," he said.

In her rebuttal, Maffei pointed out DePape told a detective and testified in federal court that he planned to get a video of Nancy Pelosi confessing to what he believed to be crimes and post it on the internet.

"There is inherent value in a video of the Speaker of the House confessing to crimes in her own home," Maffei said.

The attack on Paul Pelosi was captured on police body camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and shocked the political world. He suffered two head wounds including a skull fracture that was mended with plates and screws he will have for the rest of his life. His right arm and hand were also injured.

DePape admitted during his federal trial testimony that he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, record his interrogation of her, and "break her kneecaps" if she did not admit to the lies he said she told about "Russiagate," a reference to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Lipson told the jury during closing arguments that before the attack, DePape was living an isolated, lonely life and "went down the rabbit hole of propaganda and conspiracy theories."

This week the judge expelled DePape's former partner from the public gallery and the second floor of the San Francisco courthouse because the judge said she was trying to tamper with the jury.

On Monday and Tuesday, Gypsy Taub, a well-known activist in the Bay Area, handed out pieces of paper outside the courtroom with the address of a website she runs that promotes conspiracy theories. The cards were also found in a women's bathroom near the courtroom, where the website's address was scrawled in marker on a wall.

DePape's federal public defender said during his federal sentencing that DePape was first exposed to extreme beliefs by Taub, who has two sons with DePape.

Taub met DePape in Hawaii when he was 20 years old and she was in her 30s and pregnant, DePape's twin sister, Joanne Robinson, said in a letter to the federal judge seeking leniency.

Robinson wrote that Taub isolated DePape from his family and inflicted "extreme psychological damage" on her brother.

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