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Tag: Robert “LaVoy” Finicum

Oregon Jury Acquits FBI Agent of Lying About Firing Weapon in Death of Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum

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

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors took a big hit on Friday in a Portland, Ore., courtroom.

A federal jury found FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita not guilty after about six hours of deliberations over two days. He was accused of lying to conceal that he fired two shots at the truck of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum in January 2016.

Astarita, 41, a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team, looked straight ahead but squeezed the hands of defense lawyers Robert Cary and Meghan Ferguson sitting on either side of him as the court clerk read the verdicts about 2:45 p.m., according to a report in The Oregonian newspaper.

Once the jury left, the attorneys hugged Astarita.

A 37-year-old married father of two from a Portland suburb who sat the jury told Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian:

“I feel it’s possible someone is lying. I don’t know which side, or who, or it could be both. There’s still two unattributed shots, and I feel like we’re never going to know for sure who took them.”

He also said he “felt like a pendulum going back and forth during the trial — from ‘oh man, he definitely did it’ and then ‘well, maybe, he didn’t.”’

 

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.

FBI Agent Denies Firing 2 Mysterious Shots at Leader of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Takeover

Robert “LeVoy” Tinicum, who was shot dead by police during the armed Oregon wildlife refuge takeover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of obstruction and making false statements denied Wednesday that he shot at a militia leader involved in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

W. Joseph Astarita is accused of firing his weapon twice in the line of duty and removing the shell casings from the scene.

But Astarita testified during his trial this week that he did neither.

Astarita is charged with allegedly lying that the fired two errant shots that missed Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was fatally shot by Oregon State Police.

Investigators were able to identify who fired six of the eight shots. After an investigation, prosecutors became convinced that Astarita fired the other two shots. 

He was indicted in June 2017.

Astarita testified Wednesday that he did not fire his weapon at Finicum because he was worried about cross-fire.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier this week, saying Astarita was the only person who could have fired the mysterious shots.

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.