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

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

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. One hit Finicum's truck, the other lodged in a snow bank. Those shots were fired by state troopers. At worst, they said, he might have been kicked off the team and reassigned.

The case was being investigated by the Justice Department's inspector general along with federal prosecutors in Oregon.

The agent made false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation on at least three occasion when he "falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Robert LaVoy Finicum, when he knew then and there that he had fired his weapon", the indictment reportedly said.

That investigation led to the charges against Astarita, a member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. On Wednesday, speaking after Astarita was indicted and publicly identified, Nelson said Astarita fired the shot that struck the roof of Finicum's vehicle.

He said nothing during a brief court hearing and was released on his own recognizance, declining to comment as he left.

Joseph Astarita pleaded not guilty to five felony charges, reports The Associated Press. A jury trial has been set for August 29. In the cab, ranchers Finicum, Shawna Cox, Ryan Bundy and 18-year-old gospel singer Victoria Sharp debated their next move. He is described as firing two shots during the encounter. 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.

An FBI agent has been charged with lying when he told investigators he did not fire his weapon at a protester killed by police during a 2016 standoff at a federal wildlife refuge in OR, according to court documents unsealed on Wednesday.

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Finicum was driving his pickup truck, carrying other Bundy occupiers, when he sped away from a traffic stop on the rural US 395 highway. In an extended video filmed from an airplane, vehicles carrying members of the group are seen being pulled over by police.

"I'm encouraged. I'm thrilled that the grand jury came back with this finding, " Finicum's widow Jeannette Finicum reportedly said.

Finicum hit the gas, speeding toward another roadblock, and he veered to avoid hitting it.

Finicum then sped off, coming to a roadblock and plowing into a snowbank.

"Go ahead and shoot me!"

Finicum's death spurred protests and conspiracy theories among occupation supporters. As word spread, occupiers remaining at the refuge cried foul, describing it as a murder. Supporters inside the Portland courtroom and on the green park lawns outside wore T-shirts and flew flags bearing Finicum's cattle brand; they held signs that read "Justice for LaVoy". "They made false statements". Some FBI officials had also mentioned those same incidents, saying that with memories of those bloody episodes in mind, they deliberately allowed the OR occupation to continue for weeks.

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