According to the court papers, Astarita falsely told investigators he did not open fire at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement on a snow-covered road near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 26, 2016.
Astarita, who is a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s hostage rescue team based in Quantico, Virginia, is not accused of killing Finicum or striking him with any bullets.
Finicum, a 54-year-old rancher who acted as a spokesman for the refuge’s lands-rights occupiers, was shot dead by Oregon State police in an incident caught on videotape taken by a law enforcement aircraft.
A county prosecutor later found the shooting justified, saying Finicum appeared to have been reaching for a weapon. Finicum’s family members have accused law enforcement of covering up the circumstances surrounding his death.
Billy Williams, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, told reporters on Wednesday the indictment does not call into question the local prosecutor’s finding that officers were justified in using deadly force against Finicum.
An autopsy found that the rancher was killed by three rounds fired by Oregon State Police officers that struck him in the neck, shoulder and lower back.
Astarita also faces two counts of obstruction of justice for failing to disclose to Oregon State police officers that he fired two rounds during the attempted arrest, the indictment said.
Astarita was arraigned Wednesday in Portland, Williams said. He pleaded not guilty to all counts and was released pending future court appearances.
It was not immediately clear if Astarita had retained an attorney.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.