Last year, an Oregon standoff took place between members of the Bundy family and law representatives. In the confrontation, one FBI agent, W. Joseph Astarita, it is said in a release of information after a one-year investigation, had fired two gunshots at one of the confronters. Deschutes County Sheriff, Shane Nelson, had criticized in a grave tone multiple members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team.
Indictment for Joseph Astarita, FBI HRT Member that Fired His Gun
The sheriff’s comments came during a press conference after FBI agent Astarita pleaded not guilty in front of three counts that include false statements and two counts of justice obstruction in federal court in Portland.
Sheriff Nelson said:
“I was disappointed when I recently heard FBI HRT agents associated with this case were not placed on administrative leave after the briefing by our investigators to FBI administration”.
However, he is confident that after the Wednesday’s indictment more and the defendant himself (Astarita) will be held accountable through the justice process. This is in addition to the fact that there is a concern, says sheriff Nelson, that some members of the FBI HRT division have a criminal conduct.
Mr. Astarita was accused of lying to investigators about firing his weapon twice after Robert “Lavoy” Finicum plowed his vehicle into a snowbank in front of an FBI roadblock. Moreover, he is accused of having a misleading conduct toward Oregon State Police officers because he did not disclose his firing.
Robert “Lavoy” Finicum, with the help of other supporters of the Bundy family, took over a vacant building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a protest against federal lands policy. The protest took 41 days, which lead to the Oregon standoff.
Kelli Stewart, a friend of the Finicum family, stated that, in her opinion, the FBI agent should have been charged with more serious offenses, among which conspiracy and attempted murder. She feels that, although there was some progress made after the one-year investigation, justice was not served in full.
We remind that the Oregon standoff from last year was led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, members of the Nevada Bundy family, prominent critics of the federal government’s lands regulations.
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