PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jury selection started in the trial of an FBI agent accused of lying about firing two shots that missed Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, spokesman for the group that took over an Oregon wildlife refuge in January 2016.
The errant shots came as the Arizona rancher emerged from his pickup when authorities arrested leaders of the takeover on Jan. 26, 2016. Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum seconds later.
The agent, W. Joseph Astarita, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of making a false statement and obstruction of justice.
Defense lawyer David Angeli says his client didn’t fire, and the government’s case is based on weak circumstantial evidence.
Jury selection began Tuesday afternoon. The trial is expected to last several weeks.
The occupiers seized the refuge to protest the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers who set fires. President Trump recently pardoned those men.