President Trump lashed out Thursday night at the not guilty verdict for an undocumented immigrant charged with murder in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle, calling it “disgraceful.”
“A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration,” Trump tweeted.
A jury for the Superior Court of San Francisco earlier Thursday acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder and manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Steinle, 32, in 2015.
Zarate, who was in the U.S. illegally at the time of the shooting, had previously been deported five times. Trump and other Republicans used the case as a rallying cry for tougher immigration laws.
The court found Zarate not guilty of first or second-degree murder or assault with a firearm, but convicted him of being a felon with a firearm, for which he will be sentenced at a future date.
The attorney representing Zarate in the case issued a statement Thursday night, urging Trump to “reflect” on his own “presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation before commenting on the Steinle case.
Trump invoked Steinle’s case in pushing for tougher immigration policies during the 2016 presidential election, including in his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer when he accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
Attorney General Jeff Session blasted so-called sanctuary cities late Thursday after the ruling in San Francisco, urging lawmakers and individual cities to “consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.”
“While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle’s death—a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer—the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm,” Sessions said.
U.S. immigration officials announced Thursday night that they will seek to deport Zarate again following his acquittal of murder charges.
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