FBI Agent On Trial for Lying, Obstruction of Justice After Bundy Siege Shooting

Astarita Trail Shooting Obstruction Of Justice FBI HRT

courtesy FBI and AP

John Dingell III writes:

While Peter Strzok is getting all the current attention as the archetypical lying FBI agent, an Obama era case of FBI lying is finally going to trial in Oregon. A conviction might put pause to the trigger-happy behavior of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team when they are dealing with politically incorrect protesters.

FBI Special Agent W. Joseph Astarita is now on trial in the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Portland Division before Senior District Judge Robert E. Jones for shooting at Robert LaVoy Finicum and then lying about the two shots he fired. Finicum was stopped at a joint federal/state roadblock as he was leaving the site of the Bundy siege/standoff at the the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

Finicum was shot in the back multiple times by two Oregon State Police troopers on January 26, 2016. While the two OSP troopers weren’t charged, evidence collected at the scene by Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies indicated that at least two shots were fired from positions occupied by the FBI HRT.

Multiple FBI agents were caught on video searching for and then removing spent casings from the two shots, which missed Finicum, but hit another member of his party. Astarita was later indicted in 2017 for lying about firing those two shots and obstruction of justice. No one else in the FBI has been indicted for removing those cartridge cases.

From npr.org:

An investigation by local officials into the death of Finicum deemed the fatal shooting by an Oregon State Police officer as “justified,” as NPR reported, even as it suggested possible misconduct by the FBI team.

Earlier this month, the federal judge threw out two of the original five counts against Astarita — one each of making a false statement and obstruction of justice.

Two of the remaining counts are tied to statements Astarita allegedly made to FBI supervisory special agents that he had not fired his weapon, which the indictment states were “material” to the FBI’s decision at the time not to launch an investigation into an agent-involved shooting. Finally, he is charged with obstruction of justice because he allegedly failed to disclose to Oregon State Police that he had fired his weapon.

The evidence is working against Astarita’s claim.

From koin.com:

Tuesday morning’s testimony came from two forensics experts who worked to determine where the gunshots came from. Prosecutors said Astarita is the only person who could have fired those two specific shots at Lavoy Finicum. While neither shot hit Finicum, Astarita is accused of lying to investigators five different times about firing his weapon.

The testimony went over the methods by an Oregon State Police forensic analyst to deduce the angles the bullets were fired from based off of their entry points into the roof and hood of Finicum’s truck.

One of Astarita’s defense attorneys questioned that analyst on her use of different techniques in determining the bullet path as well as her margin for error of plus or minus five degrees.

Michael Haag — a forensic science consultant — was also called to the stand Tuesday.

He was hired by the government to further examine those entry points and testified that his margin for error was the same as the work of the OSP analyst — despite the use of different methods.

I am still angry about Lon Horiuchi killing Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge and the acceptance of this murder by the justice system. This time, it looks as if an FBI agent may be held accountable.

comments

  1. avatar surlycmd says:

    “This time, it looks as if an FBI agent may be held accountable.” Time will tell but, I’m not gonna be surprised when the agent walks.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      If he was break dancing instead he’d already be cleared

    2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      And: “Multiple FBI agents were caught on video searching for and then removing spent casings from the two shots”

      If that is the case, why as these other agents not charged with ‘Conspiracy to commit”? If they were trying to cover up the shooting, they should be charged as well.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      everybody knows those HRT guys are a bunch of uncontrollable “cowboys”….as they’ve proved often enough…

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        just like when that front door disappeared at Waco….

  2. avatar David says:

    Ruby Ridge, Waco, and now this. IRS scandal, FBI election shenanigans, and covering for Hillary. Proof that federal law enforcement is weaponized by the left.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      The federal enforcement/intelligence organizations are more corrupt and more weaponized now than ever before. If you learn the history of what happened to Randy Weaver and his family at Ruby Ridge and what happened in Waco it will surely shake your faith in our government. We almost saw a repeat at Bundy Ranch.
      And now this.

    2. avatar Seriously...? says:

      The FBI wasn’t weaponized by the left, and weak-ass straw-man arguments about finding correlation after the fact weakens the truth – that the FBI, ATF, all these institutions, were enacted by the consent and allowance of THE GOVERNMENT. NOT left. NOT right. Sure, the left definitively (past 15 I’d say at this level of brazenness) is utilizing the weapon they are, but let’s be VERY clear. They’ve been against the people of all political backgrounds for decades.

      1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        Authoritarianism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Fascist-influenced progressivism has been controlling federal policy and authority for decades. When you see things like this happen, it’s a pretty stark reminder that these guys aren’t really accountable to anyone, something that’s common with authoritarian states.

        1. avatar anonymoose says:

          This all started with LBJ. Things the Feds did during Kennedy’s 3 years and then Kennedy’s assassination and LBJ’s seizure of power are just way too convenient. Things have just gotten worse since then. Before that it was mostly local and regional corruption and tacit support of outlaw mobs and posses.

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        Funny how the FBI doesn’t straight up murder people on video tape unless a progtard is in office… Waco and this incident should have gotten the officers involved strung up.

    3. avatar Marty says:

      Waco under Clinton. Can’t remember who Ruby Ridge was under. All the rest under obummer. This is what happens when federal law enforcement is politicized. Politics has no place in law enforcement, liberal or conservative. Oregon was a travesty and no excuse can be made for it. I’ll bet, but don’t know for sure, the FBI started it and the state police finished it. Not an excuse, but I can understand how it happened.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Ruby Ridge was 1992… so Bush.

        1. avatar Marty says:

          Almost as bad.

        2. avatar DamDoc says:

          Yeah… that was when GHWB dropped his NRA Life Membership because the NRA spoke truth to power and called the FBI “jack booted thugs” for murdering Randy Weavers wife and kid…

        3. avatar FedUp says:

          …the Life membership he bought (probably with campaign funds) in an effort to deflect attention from his anti gun record during his run for President.

          Then, a couple months after taking office, he banned importation of certain rifles by unconstitutional executive order.

          That’s the GHWB that gave us President Clinton by convincing pro gun voters they had nobody to vote for in 1992.

      2. avatar Matt says:

        It isn’t a political spectrum thing, it is just what Law Enforcement does. Look back at the gangland years under Hoover when the FBI was founded the actions it took. Hoover was far right wing and targeted liberals (he considered them all communists, the mild and the wild liberals alike). Nixon misused the FBI while he was president. It doesn’t have anything to do with them being “weaponized” by the left.

        The FBI was weaponized from the beginning. As has a lot of US police agencies the last few decades, the later has just been getting worse recently. The FBI is actually acting a lot tamer the last ~15-20 years under Bush the 2nd and Obama than it did under Clinton and Bush I.

        1. avatar Marty says:

          Matt, you couldn’t be more wrong. The very vast number of LEO’s are hard working honest folks. If it is like what you said, it would be happening 1000’s of times a day, 7 days a week. You through a mighty large loose rope around LEO’s. So, basically, you’re full of crap.

  3. avatar Scott says:

    The FBI should be disbanded entirely

    1. avatar David Walters says:

      Yep.

    2. avatar CZJay says:

      Also ATF and DEA.

      1. avatar burley says:

        and the CIA, NSA, DEA, IRS, DHS, etc, etc…

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      ATF first.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Definitely the ATF first. Take away their cabinet status and make them a department of the IRS again, as they had been, and for Gawd’s sake take away their guns, or at least make it so that they cannot lead any action for any reason. Make them call in local agencies to perform arrests.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          There are now 73 federal agencies that have armed officers, often called “special agents.”

          https://www.theblaze.com/contributions/bite-the-bullet-weve-got-too-many-agencies-with-armed-agents

        2. avatar troutbum5 says:

          Get rid of all of the agency specific law enforcement and expand the US Marshall Service. If the BLM, for instance, needs to arrest someone, or investigate in a potentially dangerous situation, they take a Marshall or two.

        3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          “Definitely the ATF first. Take away their cabinet status and make them a department of the IRS again,…”

          The IRS is a *bad* idea.

          Remember how the Leftists under the Obama administration effectively ‘weaponized’ the IRS against all those groups with “Tea” or “Patriot” in their group names when they tried to file for tax-exempt status?

        4. avatar Jeremy B. says:

          B.S. if you ask a person to enforce federal felony laws, you’d better give them a gun.

          While the ATF gets a bad rap (usually deservedly) the do from time to time do the right thing. So do other agencies. So if a person has the authority to arrest violent criminals you’d better allow them the same tools you want to be able to carry.

    4. avatar California Richard says:

      Maybe you could add it as a rider to the “abolish ICE” bill.

  4. avatar CZJay says:

    Will the LAPD be held accountable for opening fire while many people were in the line of fire, which resulted in an innocent woman being killed? You can obviously see the innocent people in the line of fire yet they opened up. How is that protecting and helping the innocent law abiding public?

    1. avatar Just Sayin says:

      Good video; nicely edited to show the different perspectives

    2. avatar bobo says:

      LAPD shoots at an OCCUPIED building at over 20 yards??

      who in the literal FUCK trained that moron???

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        If I heard correctly, he does the training as he is the training officer and the woman in the car with him is new to the department.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And that sounded a lot like a mag dump, not aimed fire.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          There was once a bank robbery of sorts in my town (it was really a suicide by cop–the kid had an Airsoft pistol). Two of three responding officers emptied their 17 shot mags, and the third, coming a few seconds behind, fired off half of his rounds. Yes, the perp was DOA. When I asked a marshall what he though of all the shots fired, he said, “Not enough.” This is the attitude. Almost all police shootings in my area, which is by no means a high crime area, involve rapid mag dumps. I don’t get it. This is not the way to put down accurate fire. (That said, our cops have a hit rate of about 40%.)

        2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          When you see a mag dump followed by multiple mag dumps from other cops we’re witnessing a tribal ritual. Any cop on the scene who doesn’t dump his mag will be seen as an outlier.

        3. avatar California Richard says:

          Its called “sympathetic fire” and I can’t think of anybody who approves it practice. As a matter of fact, A LOT of training is geared toward discouraging sympathetic fire….. Any person (cop, military, or otherwise) who encourages that kind of blind fire crap is an idiot and/or psychopath. In practical terms it’s extraordinarily wasteful; the military estimates it takes 10,000 rounds of “massed fire” for one hit… In moral terms its terribly irresponsible and it only takes a little bump from Murphy for things to go horribly wrong.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      the “panic attack”….seen it before….

  5. avatar Michael in AK says:

    As a former police chief called them….coproaches…

  6. avatar FedUp says:

    Astarita was later indicted in 2017 for lying about firing those two shots and obstruction of justice.

    You mean, he’s charged with being a Fibbie?

    Name one agent who hasn’t committed perjury and obstruction.
    Especially a HRT/Death Squad member.

  7. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    When are they going to prosecute the FBI agents who lied during the Wen Ho Lee trial? The federal judge apologized to Lee on behalf of the American people but the FBI walked away without repercussions.

  8. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    What about prosecution of the FBI agents who removed evidence from the scene and sanitized it?

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      They are working on the Trump case.

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        Glad to know they are still gainfully employed. /whatsworsethansarcasm?

        1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          It’s a bitch when you can’t be sarcastic enough to make it sound worse than the truth isn’t it?

  9. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    In some states if there is a criminal act such as a robbery for instance, and if there is a death then all participants are indicted for murder. I think that all at the scene of the murder of Mr. Finicum should be indicted for his murder, Oregon and federal police. Also the attempted murders of the occupants of the vehicle. They pulled a Bonnie and Clyde shoot up of their vehicle.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      As I recall, none were because Mr. Finicum was armed, tried to flee the road stop, and pulled his gun when confronted. For these reasons, it was deemed a justifiable shooting. In the case at trial, the illegal conduct of the FBI agent was after that shooting. I have a feeling that he did so because he could not justify firing his weapon, and he knew it.

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Mark, exactly. As I recall, Finicum was en route to meet with the County Sheriff. He was not a threat to anybody. At least, that’s how I read it. Personally, I think the whole group was embarrassing the obummer administration and they wanted it ended.

        1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

          Bullshit. Finicum attempted to run a road block set up by law enforcement to arrest the ringleaders of the French Vanilla Creamer Rebellion when they left the refuge. He outright told the state police that he would not comply with their orders and reached for his weapon. The whole situation was absolutely botched given the kiddy gloves those terrorists were treated with. Criminals in the act of committing a crime should not be allowed to come and go as they please, use public utilities, or get goddamn mail.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          That is not at all what I read. Were you watching lame stream news? Possibly cnn.

        3. avatar FedUp says:

          “attempted to run a roadblock”

          And Marty’s a lying troll, unless you think “slamming on the brakes and fishtailing wildly as soon as he saw the roadblock” = attempting to run a roadblock.

        4. avatar Marty says:

          Fed up, please tell me what you would you do if you are going to meet with the county sheriff and you see a road block in front of you? Would you speed up, or slam on the brakes? Use some common sense. I know I would slam on the brakes. Anything else would be stupid. Of course, in this case, it didn’t make any difference. He was dead in either case.

        5. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          That is exactly why they were there. Finicum was not walking out of that ambush under any circumstances. He was a dead man when he got in the truck and left for town.

        6. avatar FedUp says:

          Marty, you call it speeding up when the brake lights are on and the back wheels are locked? He was hard on the brakes within 50′ of the roadblock becoming visible to him.

          Or are you talking about him driving away from the ‘traffic stop’ before encountering the roadblock? (I hadn’t read about the traffic stop before today, which sheds a new light on why they set up the traffic stop in a blind curve)

        7. avatar Marty says:

          Fed up, I never said anything about speeding up or a traffic stop?

        8. avatar FedUp says:

          Oh, Marty, I owe you a HUGE apology.
          I got pissed at you for the lies VerendusAudeo wrote.

          Man, is my face red.

        9. avatar M says:

          Fed up, no problem, I’ve had a red face before.

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        You misspelled “ambush”.. the first “road block” had them straight up try to murder the people in the car.

        1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          Bingo. And Finicum never pulled his weapon, either. Not even the cops/feds on scene ever made such a claim. They said he was “reaching for it”, even though his hands were in the air the whole time. The entire incident is on video if anyone else here has any doubts that this was an execution, plain and simple. There’s even video WITH AUDIO from inside the vehicle before, during and after the murder of Roy Finicum.

        2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          Every single law enforcement agency is covering up. Federal and local. The federal government even sanitized the scene so their agents wouldn’t be implicated. It’s on video. But all LEOs are good.

  10. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    What I don’t get is why the FBI agent lied about shooting. The Oregon police opened fire and that was justified (at least by the investigators) so FBI joining in shouldn’t be an issue.

    1. avatar Bcb says:

      Because he realized the shooting was BS to begin with. Watch the video it’s straight up unwarranted. Frustration dump by law enforcement.

  11. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Last I heard, murdering FBI agent Lon Horiuchi works for Troy industry
    People should avoid Troy products

    1. avatar Marty says:

      I’d sure like to know if that’s a fact. I like Troy.

      1. avatar Bcb says:

        At one point it was anyway. I don’t own and probably won’t own any Troy anything.

      2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        Yes, it is a fact! Maybe he’s retired or dead by now, but otherwise…

    2. avatar arc says:

      Seems to be true…

      They also hired Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weiss… then fired him…

      I don’t care if they fired him. If they entertained hiring the enemy, then I don’t need their products.

  12. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Attempts to politicize the FBI have severely tarnished this institution. Who today would blindly trust the unsubstantiated testimony of an FBI agent given revelations of the past few years? Maybe that’s a good thing in the long run….

    1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

      Has everyone forgotten Hoover? For nearly the first 50 years of the FBI, they spent an awful lot of time and effort violating people’s rights so they could blackmail them. Aaaaand cover for their crossdressing director. So there’s that.

    2. avatar Marty says:

      Anytime a once reputable institution is taken down by total and absolute corruption, it is not a good thing.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    “This time, it looks as if an FBI agent may be held accountable.”

    Mwahahahahahahah!

    Oh, wait . . . you were serious about that? Well I’ll be darned.

  14. avatar sound awake says:

    why do all of the us justice departments worst moments of the last 30 years seem to happen only when a democrat is in the white house

  15. avatar John J. McCarthy, Jr. says:

    This agent will say he did a back-flip and then his gun just went off.

    Then everything will be ok.

  16. avatar Kap says:

    Federal baby Incinerators (Waco) are above the law, Cold blooded killing by the HRT sniper (just because he wanted to kill)! and now these treasonous Bast**ds will get too walk keep their pensions and brag about what good they did.

  17. avatar Anon says:

    My question: Finicum shooting. Did the FBI shots occur before the state troopers? If so did that trigger the troopers to shoot?

  18. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Most here are focusing on the lethal encounters that deprived people of their lives under color of law, and the lies and cover-up that followed.

    People need to remember that the FBI is a manifestly corrupt organization, and they put people into prison as a result of their corruption:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/csi-is-a-lie/390897/

    The FBI should be disbanded, every employee of the agency denied from federal employment ever again, and every ex-FBI employee and current employee should lose their pensions. There should be real penalties for corruption in government law enforcement organizations, and the people who covered up for the corruption need to feel the pain as well as those who were corrupt.

  19. avatar little horn says:

    “i’m from the government and i’m here to help”

  20. avatar Ted Unlis says:

    Interesting that even though this story isn’t a lame one carefully crafted in the Farago anti law enforcement style of the old TTAG, it still managed to elicit lame comments from the same old lame cop haters like the Delusional Gunsmith and Danny Griffin who Farago so loved to toss red meat to in years past. Hey Danny Boy, did you pick up on the fact that the killing of Finicum was ruled justified and the Oregon State Trooper who shot him was cleared? Too funny!

    1. avatar Matt(TX) says:

      @Ted Unlis the troll

      Please just go away.

  21. avatar Aleric says:

    This is what the FBI is like under Liberal Leftist Socialist, they are nothing but goons used to enforce the will of the LEFT. People knew what was going on and the MSM covered it up and LIED about the incidents.

  22. avatar jp finn says:

    More to the point is the matter of legitimacy!

    Just where………no, precisely where, in our Consitution does there appear ANY grant of police powers to our Federal Govt.?

    Yeah, it could be provided for…….by amending the founding document………which has not, and likely will never occur.

    1. avatar Marty says:

      They were created by congress who have Constitutional authority to pass laws. Just my guess.

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