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Oregon standoff: Federal jury acquits FBI agent

W. Joseph Astarita was accused of lying about shooting Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 10:52 AM
Updated: Aug 10, 2018 3:26 PM

UPDATE: An FBI agent has been found not guilty of lying about firing shots at a militia leader who participated in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

A jury on Friday returned the verdict on W. Joseph Astarita.

"We thank the jury for their dedicated service and for giving full consideration to an important case,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. "We strongly believe this case needed to be brought before the court and decided by a jury. Our system of justice relies on the absolute integrity of law enforcement officials at all levels of government.”

The verdicts concludes a three-week trial during which jurors heard testimony from FBI agents, state and local law enforcement officers, forensic scientists and ballistics experts.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The case of an FBI agent accused of lying about firing shots that missed a militia leader who participated in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge has gone to a jury.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports prosecutors and defense lawyers for W. Joseph Astarita made closing arguments Thursday and that a jury of three women and nine men began deliberating Thursday afternoon.

Astarita is charged with making false statements and obstruction of justice after telling investigators he did not fire two shots that missed Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a key figure in the group that seized the refuge in 2016 while protesting the imprisonment of two ranchers.

Astarita has pleaded not guilty and denies firing the shots.

The errant shots came as Finicum left his pickup while authorities tried to arrest him.

Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum seconds later.

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