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Tag: joseph astarita

Jury Acquits FBI Agent Accused of Firing Gun During Oregon Standoff

FBI photo of the shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during the 2016 armed standoff.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A federal jury has acquitted an FBI agent accused of lying to investigators about whether he fired his gun twice at a militia elder involved in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

The jury on Friday found Agent Joseph Astarita not guilty of obstruction and making false statements.

The 41-year-old agent repeatedly denied he fired his weapon at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum because he was worried about crossfire.

Astarita’s attorney, David Angeli, told CNN that prosecutors lacked eyewitness and ballistic evidence that would show the agent fired his service weapon in during the 2016 standoff. 

“We are grateful to the men and women of the jury who saw through a case that never should have been brought,” Angeli and another defense attorney Rob Cary said in a statement.

At the time of the alleged shooting, the FBI was told to hold fire while local and state law enforcement handled Finicum, who led police on a chase in his pickup and was then shot by state police after he appeared to reach for his gun.

The jury was focused on who fired two errant shots, not who killed Finicum because the deadly force was deemed justified.

Astarita’s lawyers argued that alleged evidence against the agent was the result of lies from the “reckless” actions of one Oregon State Police trooper who fired most of the shots and later changed his story.

Jury Deliberating in Case of FBI Agent Accused of Firing Weapon During Takeover of Oregon Wildlife Refuge

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by police during the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of FBI Agent Joseph Astarita is now in the hands of a jury.

Astarita is accused of obstruction and making false statements after denying to federal authorities that he fired two shots at a militia elder involved in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge. The 41-year-old defendant also is accused of removing the shell casings from the scene to hide evidence that he was the shooter.

During the trial, he repeated his denials, saying he did not fire his weapon at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum because he was worried about crossfire.

The FBI was told to hold fire while local and state law enforcement handled Finicum, who led police on a chase in his pickup and was then shot by state police after he appeared to reach for his gun.

The jury is focused on who fired the two errant shots, not who killed Finicum because the deadly force was deemed justified.

“It is with a heavy heart that the United States government asks you to look at one of its own,” Paul T. Maloney, an assistant United States attorney, said Thursday in his final statement to the jury, the New York Times reports. “This case is about integrity; this case is about honesty; this case is about accountability and owning your shots.”

Astarita’s lawyers argued that alleged evidence against the agent was the result of lies from the “reckless” actions of one Oregon State Police trooper who fired most of the shots and later changed his story

Astarita is 13-year veteran of the FBI and is a firearms instructor.

Check back for updates.

Trial Starts This Week in Oregon for FBI Agent Accused of Lying About Firing His Gun

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was the spokesman of the occupation. Via YouTube.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On Tuesday, FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, 41, who was part of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team deployed out of Quantico, Vayears old, will stand trial in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., on charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice related to the 2016 fatal shooting of Robert LaVoy Finicum, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Finicum had served as a spokesman for Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed occupation in 2016 of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.  He was fatally shot by Oregon state troopers, but federal prosecutors allege that Astarita fired two shots, which hindered the police probe into the incident.

Astarita has denied that he fired the shots and his defense team has insisted the evidence is flimsy at best.

Recently, the federal judge in the case tossed two of the five counts.

 

Indicted FBI Agent Has Exhausted Personal Savings For Forensic Experts in Oregon Case

Robert “LeVoy” Tinicum

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Indicted FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita has exhausted his personal savings to pay for his own forensic experts and has sought some federal funds to cover additional expenses, his attorney said in court, The Oregonian newspaper reports.

On Monday, Astarita sat in a U.S. District Court hearing in Portland listening to government experts testify how they identified him as the one who fired twice at the truck of Oregon occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and then tried to cover it up.

Attorneys for Astarita, who is charged with repeatedly lying to state and federal investigators about firing two shots at  Tinicum’s truck in 2016, claim the government has no concrete evidence and instead is relying on questionable “so-called experts.”

One of his defense attorneys, Washington, D.C.-based lawyer Robert Cary, argued that the FBI’s fuzzy aerial video proves nothing and that the government is using a faulty synchronization of videos created by someone who lacks expertise, The Oregonian reports.

The hearing is expected to last multiple days.

 

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