PORTLAND - An FBI agent charged with lying about shooting at a key figure in last year's armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges.
W. Joseph Astarita briefly appeared in court Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance.
The agent's shots did not hit Robert "LaVoy" Finicum during a 2016 traffic stop, but soon afterward, Oregon State Police fatally shot the Arizona rancher after he reached toward a handgun in an inner pocket.
Investigators determined the troopers were justified in shooting Finicum but also found the FBI hadn't disclosed that someone on their team had fired two shots.
Finicum was a spokesman for the group that took over the remote bird sanctuary to oppose federal control of land in the Western U.S.