Federal agency tries to block subpoena demanding agent testifies in Steinle murder trial

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Lawyers in the shooting death of Kate Seinle will be back in court next week as the defense continues its efforts to force a federal ranger to testify in the case.

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Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was in the U.S. illegally when a gun he was holding discharged, killing Steinle in San Francisco.

The gun had been stolen from the car of an agent from the Bureau of Land Management.

RELATED: Kate Steinle's family files federal lawsuit over her death

Lopez-Sanchez' defense team wants to question the agent, John Woychowski, but lawyers from the Department of the Interior say federal regulations require the defense to submit a request in writing, justifying why the agents' testimony would be relevant.

"We think that it's obvious that his testimony is relevant to the trial. Unfortunately, the Federal Government is trying to place barriers into our ability to subpoena this witness," said Francisco Ugarte, deputy public defender.

"So this is really about two things," said Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian. "Number one, whether the defendant fired the gun, and number two, whether he did so with implied malice. And that's what this case is all about."

Both sides will be back in court next week, when a date for the trial could be set.
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