A Mexican man who sparked a heated immigration debate when he was acquitted last week in the fatal shooting of Katie Steinle faces new federal charges Tuesday.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was indicted by a grand juryon two federal gun charges less than a week after he was acquitted of murder in the fatal shooting of Katie Steinle.
The killing of Steinle became linked with the controversy over illegal immigration, and President Donald Trump referred to the case in pushing for stricter policies and in criticizing so-called "sanctuary cities". But more than anything, he said, they want to finally move away from the public attention brought by the politicization of his daughter's death.
The Justice Department said that the federal charges are the result of an investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
He now is in state custody on other charges, the Justice Department statement said, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the new counts. However, he was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon.
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.
Garcia Zarate is scheduled to be sentenced for his conviction in San Francisco next week.
Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia said in her opening statements in October that Garcia Zarate "meant to shoot" at people, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
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"Last week was not a verdict we were hoping for".
He continued, "It pains me to watch politicians and candidates use the tragedy of this event for political gain".
The day after the trial, federal authorities said they would seek to gain custody of Garcia Zarate and eventually deport him.
Garcia Zarate said he found a gun under a chair on a San Francisco pier.
The 47-year-old said the firearm accidentally fired when he picked it up, and the bullet ricocheted off the ground before it struck Steinle, a 32-year-old medical device saleswoman.
Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday.
The jury deliberated for six days before issuing its decision.