An FBI agent accused of lying about firing two shots at Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum faces a five-count indictment, charging him with three counts of making a false statement and two counts of obstruction of justice.
W. Joseph Astarita, 40, dressed in a dark pin-striped suit, made his first appearance on the indictment Wednesday in a packed federal courtroom, with heightened security inside and in the corridors of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.
A lawyer standing beside Astarita entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to all charges. Astarita will remain out of custody pending trial.
Astarita is accused of firing twice at Finicum as Finicum emerged from his truck after he swerved into a snowbank, nearly striking another FBI agent, to avoid a roadblock on U.S. 395 in Harney County. Finicum had sped away from a state police and FBI stop earlier on the rural roadway on Jan. 26, 2016 during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The agent’s shots didn’t hit Finicum.
The indictment says Astarita, who had served as a member of an FBI Hostage Rescue Team, “falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Robert La Voy Finicum, when he knew then and there that he had fired his weapon.”
The Oregonian -→ https://archive.is/l09PZ
LA Times -→ https://archive.is/HRRGd
Washington Post -→ https://archive.is/RUsjv