“‘You don’t got to ask me that bro’ or ‘You can’t ask me that bro'”….’No bro, we’re good'”
Assistant US Attorney Gary Sussman quotes what FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita said at the scene of LaVoy Finicum’s death to an FBI supervisor asking if he had fired any shots
Lawyers for FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita tried to convince a federal judge in Portland on Monday (February 26th) that the charges against him were repetitive.
Astarita is charged with three counts of making a false statement (to FBI supervisors) and two counts of obstruction of justice (by lying to Oregon investigators) about two shots that he fired at LaVoy Finicum’s truck on January 26, 2016. Finicum was killed by Oregon State Police moments later.
A lawyer for Astarita told a federal judge that only one lie is alleged in the case and one harm is alleged that should only amount to one alleged crime.
The lawyers claimed before the judge that Astarita’s initital comments to a supervisor at the shooting scene quoted above were not a lie and the charge should be dismissed.
But US District Judge Robert E. Jones said it is premature to throw out charges until witnesses and evidence are presented at trial.
He left open the possibility that he could dismiss charges once the trial gets underway.
While Astarita did not fire the fatal shots that killed LaVoy Finicum, he is believed behind the injury inflicted on Ryan Bundy, who was a passenger in LaVoy’s truck. Federal prosecutors were reportedly seeking to extract the shrapnel from Bundy’s shoulder to prove Astarita fired shots, but have no interest in prosecuting the FBI agent for injuring Ryan Bundy.
At last word, Ryan Bundy still has the shrapnel inside of him and said he would be willing to talk with federal prosecutors about the matter, but they had not contacted him.
Assistant US Attorney Gary Sussman told the judge today that he isn’t sure about the shrapnel being from Astarita’s gun and claimed Ryan Bundy was uncooperative. Sussman said “He hasn’t been cooperative.”
Astarita is set to go to trial on the five charges on July 24th.