Federal Bureau of Investigation agent indicted in LaVoy Finicum shooting


An FBI agent has been indicted for his actions during the 2016 traffic stop where LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed, during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Ammon Bundy and armed followers occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in OR on January 2, 2016, on the theory that the federal government has no right to federal land.

At a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon Wednesday W. Joseph Astarita, a member of the FBI's hostage response team pled not guilty to three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice, charges stemming from the 2016 shooting death of Lavoy Finicum during the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He also "did knowingly engage in misleading conduct toward...officers of the Oregon State Police, by failing to disclose that he had fired two rounds", the indictment says. After his court appearance, he was released on his own recognizance.

In March 2016, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office investigators found three bullet holes in Finicum's truck - in the driver's side mirror, the left front hood, and the front grille - that were fired by a state trooper when Finicum was driving toward the roadblock, reported The Oregonian.

The indictment comes after the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police detectives found evidence that one agent allegedly lied about shooting twice at Finicum's truck after it stopped and he was getting out of the vehicle.

Investigators determined the troopers were justified in shooting Finicum but also found members of an Federal Bureau of Investigation hostage rescue team at the scene failed to disclose that they fired two rounds that missed the Arizona rancher.

The federal Office of the Inspector General has been reviewing the shooting since OR investigators revealed their suspicions of a possible cover up in March 2016.

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Charles Lyles said his daughter liked to take her children to carnivals and do fun things with them. But Anderson said there was no need to frisk her because it was a typical burglary call.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Nelson said he was disappointed Astarita and other FBI agents weren't put on administrative leave during the investigation.

"Special Agent Astarita falsely stated he did not fire his weapon during the attempted arrest of Mr. Finicum when in fact he did", said Williams. Stewart scheduled a one-week trial to begin August 29 in front of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones.

Video footage recorded by a passenger in Finicum's truck shows that two shots were fired after Finicum stepped out of the vehicle, one shattering its window.

Leaders of the occupation - Bundy, his brother Ammon and five other defendants - were acquitted of conspiracy and weapons charges in a highly publicized trial last fall.

"I'm encouraged. I'm thrilled that the grand jury came back with this finding, " Finicum's widow Jeannette Finicum reportedly said. Finicum was an outspoken protester and a father of 11. Plowing into a snowbank, Finicum climbed out of the truck with his hands raised.

"I think they just marked him for death", said Thornton, a refuge occupier who was never indicted. "There's no doubt that they've made him into a martyr".