Man Acquitted In Kate Steinle Killing Faces Federal Gun And Immigration Charges

Federal officials file new charges against man acquitted in Kate Steinle case

Mexican man acquitted in fatal shooting of Katie Steinle last week faces new federal gun charges

Federal authorities have charged a Mexican man with new immigration and gun violations less than a week after a San Francisco jury acquitted him of murder for the shooting death of Kate Steinle.

Defense attorneys for Garcia Zarate argued the gun, which had been stolen from the vehicle of a Bureau of Land Management ranger, was accidentally fired by Garcia Zarate. Garcia Zarate claimed the shooting was accidental.

The weapon possession count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

In closing arguments, lead attorney Matt Gonzalez argued that momentary possession, especially when you don't know what you're possessing, is not a crime.

George Gascón, district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, would not comment on the developments but talked to reporters about the recent trial.

Legal experts have said prosecutors overreached by asking for a first-degree murder conviction because the fatal shot ricocheted off the ground, supporting Garcia Zarate's defense that the shooting was an accident. "We believe this was a homicide", said at a news conference Tuesday.

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The day after the trial, federal authorities said they would seek to gain custody of Garcia Zarate and eventually deport him.

Before Steinle's death in July 2015, Garcia Zarate was deported five times; at the time of the shooting he was wanted for a sixth deportation on drug-related felonies.

Jurors could also have convicted Garcia Zarate of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter but chose not to.

The case also caught the attention of presidential candidate Donald Trump previous year, who used it to highlight crime committed by undocumented immigrants during his campaign.

Sessions slammed the verdict Friday, telling Fox News that "it's time for this country to get its head on straight" because sanctuary cities like San Francisco "should not be protecting criminal aliens".

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