DOJ considering federal charges against illegal immigrant acquitted in Kate Steinle case

DOJ considering federal charges against illegal immigrant acquitted in Kate Steinle case

A Department of Justice official said Friday the agency is considering federal charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was acquitted of the murder of Kate Steinle.

“We are looking at every option, and we will prosecute this to the fullest extent available under the law because these cases are tragic and entirely preventable,” Sarah Isgur Flores, DOJ spokeswoman, said on Fox News.

Ms. Flores said the charges could be felony re-entry among several other possible cases they could bring forward.

On Thursday, a California jury acquitted the illegal immigrant who killed Ms. Steinle while on a walk with her father on the San Francisco pier in 2015.

Garcia Zarate, 54, had admitted to fatally shooting Ms. Steinle but said it was an accident. He was found guilty of lesser gun charges in the case. He is an illegal immigrant who had a criminal history and had already been deported five times, but was protected from another deportation by San Francisco’s sanctuary policy.

Ms. Flores said DOJ would urge sanctuary cities, those restricting cooperation with federal immigration authorities, to “reconsider” that decision.

“This is a person that never should have been on that pier, and Kate Steinle would still be alive,” she said.

President Trump made the case a top issue of his presidential campaign leading in part to, arguably his most famous campaign promise, to build wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

He tweeted his anger at the verdict on Friday morning and renewed his calls for a border wall.

“The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.

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