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Judge keeps charges against FBI agent in Finicum shooting

Posted: 2:53 PM, Feb 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-26 21:54:13Z

A federal judge declined to dismiss any charges against an FBI agent accused of lying about firing two shots at a key figure in the takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports U.S. District Judge Robert Jones said Monday that the defense motion to dismiss four of the five counts against FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita was premature.

Investigators said Astarita failed to disclose that he fired errant shots at Robert "Lavoy" Finicum, spokesman for a group that occupied the refuge in early 2016. Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum at the same roadblock.

Astarita's lawyers said there is one alleged lie, so there should only be one count.

Prosecutor Gary Sussman countered that five counts are appropriate because Astarita lied to three supervisory FBI agents and in two interviews with Oregon State Police detectives.

Astarita has pleaded not guilty.

(by The Associated Press)