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Tag: robert finicum

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.

Widow of Rancher Shot During Wildlife Refuge Protest Is Suing FBI, State Police

Scene at federal wildlife refuge six weeks ago.

Scene at federal wildlife refuge earlier this year.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Oregon State Police are the targets of a potential lawsuit over the shooting of a rancher during a standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge.

The widow of Robert “Lavoy” Finicum said she plans to sue the state police and two FBI agents over the shooting near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Finicum, 54, acted as the spokesman for the anti-government protesters who occupied the refuge to protest charges filed against local ranchers.

Brian Claypool, an attorney for the widow, Jeanette Finicum, said he was motivated to file the suit after new evidence emerged in the case, including what appears to be shell casings from the FBI, which had denied pulling the trigger.

Finicum’s family said the man was “executed in cold blood.”