Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, accused of lying in LaVoy Finicum shooting in OR, indicted

The Oregonian newspaper reported that Astarita’s attorney entered a not guilty plea in Portland federal court on Wednesday.The shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on a snowy OR highway on January 26, 2016, was one of those instant American dramas in which every photo, every eyewitness account and every millisecond of video become forensic evidence in a public debate over whether someone deserved to die at the hands of police.The prosecution against Astarita comes after more than a year of investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General and as the government is still trying to prosecute antigovernment protesters who have initiated standoffs with federal agents in OR and Nevada over the federal government’s wildlands policies. Finicum was then shot three times by state police troopers after he stepped out of the vehicle and reached for his coat pocket, where he had a loaded handgun.An FBI agent was indicted Wednesday on allegations of lying to cover up his role in the shooting of militia leader Robert “LaVoy” Finicum in OR past year.Astarita, a member of the FBI’s hostage rescue team base in Quantico, Virginia, was charged with three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice.”Astarita also knowingly engaged in misleading conduct toward Oregon State Police officers by failing to disclose that he had fired two rounds during the attempted arrest”, said the statement. A jury trial has been set for August 29.He said nothing during a brief court hearing and was released on his own recognizance, declining to comment as he left.”According to the federal indictment, Astarita was the one who fired those two shots”. Finicum’s family members have accused law enforcement of covering up the circumstances surrounding his death.”The actions of the FBI HRT team in this case damage the integrity of the entire law enforcement profession, which makes me both disappointed and angry”, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, whose department probed Finicum’s shooting, said, according to the Associated Press.The Bundys still face assault, conspiracy and other charges from a separate armed standoff in 2014 at the Nevada ranch of their father, Cliven Bundy, triggered when federal agents seized his cattle for failure to pay grazing fees to the government. At one point, he appeared to be reaching towards his jacket, which is when the state troopers fired at him.With his window rolled down, Finicum shouted at officers: “Shoot me, just shoot me!” Plowing into a snowbank, Finicum climbed out of the truck with his hands raised.Lavoy Finicum was driving one of the vehicles, and drove away from police after they pulled him to a stop.He also wondered whether Finicum came to the refuge knowing he might die.U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams stressed that the indictment did not affect the outcome of the investigation led by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, which found that the shooting was justified.