SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A jury on Thursday found a Mexican man not guilty in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier that touched off a fierce national immigration debate two years ago, rejecting possible charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder.
The shooting of Kate Steinle came during the presidential primary campaign in 2015 and was used by then-candidate Donald Trump to push for a wall on the Mexican border.
The president called the verdict “disgraceful” on Twitter late Thursday.
“No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration,” Trump wrote.
The suspect’s lawyers said outside court that their client’s immigration status was unfairly exploited for political purposes and had nothing to do with the criminal case.
“From Day 1 this case was used as a means to foment hate, to foment division and to foment a program of mass deportation. It was used to catapult a presidency along that philosophy of hate of others,” defense attorney Francisco Ugarte said after the verdict. “I believe today is a day of vindication for the rest of immigrants.”
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