The Not-Guilty Verdict handed down to illegal immigrant Jose Zarate in regards to the shooting death of Kate Steinle sent shock waves across America. Steinle was shot dead on July 1, 2015 while walking on a pier with her father and all signs pointed to Jose Zarate being the killer.
While many were trying to figure out how a Not-Guilty Verdict was possible, Zarate’s attorneys held a press conference with reporters to discuss it. And the way they went about it all gave viewers an uneasy feeling, as the two attorneys used the moment to make political statements and jabs.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez surprised everyone as he lashed out at President Trump, VP Mike Pence and AG Jeff Sessions while issuing the following statement, which can also be seen below:
For those who might criticize this verdict, there are a number of people who commented on this case in the last couple years, the attorney general of the U.S., the president, the vice president of the U.S. — 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 a presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt standard. So I would ask them to reflect on that before they comment or disparage the result in this case.
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) December 1, 2017
And if that wasn’t enough, Zarate’s other Defense Attorney Francisco Ugarte pushed the envelope even further as he attacked U.S. immigration policy! Ugarte said:
“Today is vindication for the rights of immigrants. Nothing about his ethnicity or immigration status was relevant in this case.“
"Today is vindication for the rights of immigrants. Nothing about his ethnicity or immigration status was relevant in this case." – Defense Attorney Francisco Ugarte on verdict for his client Garcia Zarate pic.twitter.com/pGmNUWMLPW
— Riya Bhattacharjee (@loislane28) December 1, 2017
Following the two attorneys’ calculated political statements, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a response of his own, which can be seen below:
“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. 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. 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. 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.”
Trump Junior also took a moment to weigh in on the matter, saying:
“What a disgrace. Don’t let the rest of the country become California. If this isn’t a wake call up to reasonable and law abiding people I don’t know what is.“
What a disgrace. Don’t let the rest of the country become California. If this isn’t a wake call up to reasonable and law abiding people I don’t know what is. https://t.co/oOhPWXVU7u
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 1, 2017
Conflicting remarks by the 2 attorneys compared to those of Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump Jr. are likely the beginning of a nationwide debate. Such a debate could be rather lopsided since California differs in opinion compared to majority of other states around the country when it comes to issues surrounding illegal immigration.
And with that we ask: What is your opinion? Was it wrong of Jose Zarate to be found NOT GUILTY and should he be held to the same laws as ALL U.S. citizens must face? Comment your response and any of your other thoughts below!