Defense Attorney in Kate Steinle Murder Trial: Federal Charges Are 'Vindictive'
The public defender in the Kate Steinle murder trial joined Martha MacCallum on "The Story" tonight for an exclusive interview after his client was acquitted of murder and assault charges.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant and seven-time felon, has been in custody since shortly after the 2015 shooting of the 32-year-old Steinle, and was credited for time served. He will be on parole for 48 months and will remain in custody to face federal charges.
Attorney Matt Gonzalez said the federal charges are a "vindictive" reaction by Trump administration officials who are upset over his client's acquittal.
Garcia Zarate is expected to be turned over to U.S. marshals to face new charges in federal court, under an indictment handed down on Dec. 5.
"The question is: Is that something that they should be allowed to do?" Gonzalez asked. "They would never have prosecuted this case. They had no indictment until he was acquitted of murder."
He said it's "selective prosecution" for the federal government to get involved in a case like this and go after someone with no weapons possession history.
Martha MacCallum pointed out that Garcia Zarate is a multiple-time felon who was deported from the U.S. five times before he killed Steinle.
"To say that he's this innocent person who doesn't deserve this kind of scrutiny by the federal government, I think, is a bit of a stretch," she said.
Watch more above.