Garcia Zarate, now in the San Francisco County Jail, was found not guilty last week of all homicide charges in the July 2015 death of Kate Steinle.
Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, 47, a native of Mexico, was charged with two federal crimes Tuesday: being a felon in possession of a firearm and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm.
Last week a San Francisco jury found Garcia Zarate, 45, not guilty of murdering the 32-year-old Kate Steinle as she was walking along a city pier two years ago.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon was critical on Tuesday of the federal charges - saying the Trump administration has turned the Zarate case into a "political football". In an interview with CNN affiliate KGO, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate (left) admitted that he shot Steinle but that the shooting was an accident.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in a federal prison, according to the Department of Justice. However he has been in jail since the shooting on July 1, 2015 and will get credit for time served.
His public defender Matt Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate will ask a judge to toss out the state conviction. They believe the gun possession conviction seemed at odds with the acquittals, given that those verdicts aligned with the defense contention that Garcia Zarate found the gun by happenstance at the pier where the shooting occurred.
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Garcia Zarate has been deported and had returned to the United States five times.
Garcia-Zarate is not yet represented by counsel.
Garcia Zarate faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors were allowed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions.
"Those who are using this for political benefits, to attack San Francisco and San Francisco values, I only say that this is an incredible city".
President Trump slammed the jury decision in the case last week, writing in a tweet, "No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with illegal Immigration".
San Francisco is a so-called sanctuary city and local officials are limited in the cooperation they can give with federal deportation efforts. The San Francisco sheriff's department also released him from jail several weeks before the shooting despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him for deporation.