Defense attorney in Steinle case: Jury’s verdict ‘should be respected’
An attorney representing the man living in the country illegally found not guilty of murder in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle said Thursday that the jury’s verdict “should be respected.”
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez issued a statement, after the verdict was announced, that took aim at President Trump, Vice President Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“For those who might criticize this verdict — there are a number of people who have commented on this case in the last couple of years; the Attorney General of the United States and the President and Vice President of the United States,” Gonzalez said, according to a local CBS affiliate.
“Let me just remind them: they are themselves under investigation by a special prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and they may soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, so I ask that they reflect on that before they comment or disparage the results of this case,” he said.
A jury for the Superior Court of San Francisco acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of the fatal shooting of Steinle. Garcia Zarate, who was in the U.S. illegally at the time of the shooting, had previously been deported five times.
The court found Garcia 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.
In a statement after the verdict Thursday night, Sessions blasted so-called sanctuary cities, saying they “put the public’s safety at risk.”
Trump, Sessions and other Republicans have used Steinle’s case as a rallying cry for tougher immigration policies and the need to increase border security.
Trump frequently highlighted Steinle’s case on the campaign trail, including in his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer when he accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
The House passed a bill known as “Kate’s Law” in June, which increases maximum penalties for immigrants who illegally enter the country multiple times after they have been deported.