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FBI agent found not guilty of lying about Oregon standoff shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. — 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.

Astarita was 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 eastern Oregon refuge in 2016 while protesting the imprisonment of two ranchers. Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum seconds later.

Astarita denied firing the shots.

Federal prosecutors had argued that Astarita was a rookie on the elite Hostage Rescue Team who panicked as Finicum came close to running over his teammate at a police roadblock.

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FBI agents investigated for ‘lack of candor’ in Oregon standoff case

A new court filing says FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita and several colleagues on the bureau’s elite Hostage Rescue Team are under investigation for alleged “lack of candor” in their statements after the shooting of refuge occupation leader Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.