DOJ looking to file federal charges against illegal immigrant acquitted of Kate Steinle murder after Attorney General Jeff Sessions voices outrage
- The Department of Justice is considering filing federal charges against?Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after he was acquitted on murder?charges Thursday night
- Zarate was an undocumented Mexican citizen who had illegally crossed the border six times when he was charged in the death of Kate Steinle
- He was acquitted?on charges of?first and second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon after lawyer said gunshot was an accident
- Sarah Isgur Flores, the Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, confirmed the DOJ was looking into charges including felony reentry?
- If convicted in federal court of federal reentry, Zarate could serve up to 10 years in addition to the year he has left on his one charge - felony weapon possession?
- Zarate was initially scheduled to be deported after his sentence, and both Sessions and Flores have blames Steinle's death on sanctuary cities?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking into filing federal charges against the illegal immigrant who was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Kate Steinle.
Sarah Isgur Flores, the Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, appeared on Fox & Friends just 12 hours after the verdict was handed down to confirm this news, explaining that the department might by launching their own case against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate.
'We're looking at pursuing federal charges in this case, and I think it's important to reassure everyone who is concerned about this that we will prosecute this to the fullest extent available under the law,' said Flores.??
Zarate, an undocumented Mexican citizen who had illegally crossed the border five times despite being repeatedly deported, was charged in the death of Steinle, 32, back in July 2015 after his gun went off and shot the woman.?
His lawyer was able to successfully argue that the gun fired on accident, getting his client off on counts of first and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon.
Flores would not say what specific charges the DOJ might file, but did strongly hint at the fact that felony reentry might be on that list, which could put Zarate behind bars for an additional 10 years.
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Back to court:?The Department of Justice is considering filing federal charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after he was acquitted on murder charges Thursday night (Attorney General Jeff Sessions above in June)
'You know, one possibility is this is a person who had been convicted before and so hypothetically a felon on supervised release, for example, who is then found guilty of felony possession of a firearm could have violated that supervised release just as one example,' said Flores while discussing possible charges.
'But we're looking at every option. And we will, again, prosecute this to the fullest extent available under the law because these cases are tragic and they are entirely preventable and the attorney general just urges these jurisdictions that are pursuing sanctuary policies, refusing to?work with immigration authorities and putting criminal aliens back on the streets, please reconsider your policies.'
She then added: 'Please look at the harm this can do to your communities and this case is such a good example.'
Zarate was only found guilty on Thursday of felony possession of a firearm.
And since he has ?been behind bars in the two years since his arrest, he will have less then a year left to serve in that sentence.
It was initially reported he would then be deported to Mexico for a sixth time, but that all changed with the DOJ's announcement on Friday.
Flores placed the blame on not just Zarate, but also the policy of sanctuary cities like San Francisco.?
Sarah Isgur Flores,Director of Public Affairs for the DOJ, confirmed this report (above)
'I mean really you have to look at these sanctuary city policies as a whole. This is a person who should not have been in San Francisco to begin with,' said Flores.?
'Kate Steinle should still be alive today. This is true in several jurisdictions in the country right now. It's why Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking at grant conditions against these cities to prevent them? from getting federal taxpayer dollars and some of these law enforcement grants that go to cities that actually are not working with federal law enforcement to get criminal aliens off their streets.'
She then added: 'These people should be deported. These are criminal aliens who are then returned intentionally into these communities that then victimize their neighbors. It's unconscionable that cities are allowing this to happen.'
Ainsley Earhardt then chimed in , asking: 'If San Francisco were not a sanctuary city, would Kate Steinle still be alive?'
Flores responded: 'I don't think there is much question of that, sadly. This is a person who had been deported five times and kept returning. He intentionally went to San Francisco, he said, because he knew about their sanctuary policies. He had been convicted multiple crimes including drug crimes.
'This is a person who should have never been on that pier and Kate Steinle would still be alive today if he hadn't been.'
Repeat offender:?Zarate (above) was an undocumented Mexican citizen who had illegally crossed the border six times when he was charged in the death of Kate Steinle
Victim: He was acquitted on charges of first and second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon after lawyer said gunshot was an accident (Steinle above)
Attorney General Sessions released a lengthy statement almost immediately after the verdict on Thursday.
'When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk. San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle,' said Sessions.?
'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.'
That strong response provided the first hint that the DOJ might go after Zarate.
President Trump meanwhile used his prefer mode of communication to share his thoughts on the verdict.
'A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration,' tweeted President Trump on Thursday.?
He then spoke again on the issue Friday, just as Fox & Friends began at 6am.
'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!' wrote Trump.
'The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.'?
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