President Trump called the jury's decision in the Kate Steinle case, finding an illegal immigrant not guilty of murder, a "disgraceful verdict" in a tweet that echoes the sentiment of many outraged figures on the Right.
"A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration," Trump said in a pointed tweet Thursday evening, hours after the verdict was announced.
A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
The jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of murdering Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was shot in 2015 on a San Francisco pier, but did find him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Zarate is an illegal immigrant from Mexico and had been deported several times and has faced convictions for entering the U.S. again after being deported. After Zarate was acquitted, U.S. immigration officials say he will be deported for the sixth time.
Follwing the jury's decision, Zarate's attorney, Matt Gonzalez, cautioned the Trump administration against making judgements on the case, citing the special counsel investigation examining their ties to Kremlin.
“Let me just remind them that they are themselves under investigation by a special prosecutor in Washington D.C., and they may themselves soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt ... I would ask them to reflect on that before they comment or disparage the result in this case,” Gonzalez said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump has long invoked Steinle's name to push his hard-line immigration views, including a border wall with Mexico. In 2015, he referred to Zarate as an "animal."
“This man, or this animal, that shot that wonderful, that beautiful woman in San Francisco, this guy was pushed back by Mexico,” Trump told CNN. “Mexico pushes back people across the border that are criminals, that are drug dealers.”
Among prominent conservative figures upset with the ruling was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said he was "angry."
Ann Coulter used to the verdict as validation for why the U.S. needs a border wall.
Jury convinced that illegal alien killed Kate Steinle accidentally. She would still be alive if we had a wall.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) December 1, 2017
Trump's administration opposes so-called "sanctuary cities."
San Francisco is one such city and allowed Zarate's release despite a detainer that had been issued from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sanctuary cities refuse to cooperate with federal government’s initiatives to implement immigration laws.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued his own statement following the verdict, condemning San Francisco for not honoring an ICE detainer.
“San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle,” Sessions said. “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 the ICE detainer — the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm.”
“The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens,” Sessions added. “I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.”