Prosecutors Urge Next Step on Boeing

Justice Department has until July 7 to decide whether to prosecute
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 7:00 PM CDT
Prosecutors Urge Next Step on Boeing
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, center, testifies at a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on Tuesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Federal prosecutors have recommended that the Justice Department bring criminal charges against Boeing over its failure to keep the terms of an agreement sparing the company from legal action in crashes that killed a combined 346 people. The department found last month that Boeing had violated provisions of the deferred prosecution deal, the Washington Post reports. That started prosecutors on weighing their options, which also include reaching a new deferred prosecution agreement, imposing more fines and conditions, having an independent monitor make sure Boeing is in compliance, and moving toward a trial.

They have until July 7 to decide what's next. The crashes involved in the agreement involved Indonesia's Lion Air in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019. The 2021 agreement would have insulated Boeing from criminal liability—even though the Justice Department said at the time that "misleading statements, half-truths, and omissions communicated by Boeing employees to the FAA" kept hidden potential design problems hidden, per CNN. Some family members of the victims have been critical of the deal, as have members of Congress.

This month, some of the relatives urged the Justice Department to impose the largest possible fine: $24.9 billion. They also called for criminal prosecutions to include former Boeing executives. It's possible that Boeing could be found ineligible to do business with the federal government, should it be convicted of a crime, per CNN. That probably would put it out of business, an unlikely government goal since the company has so many defense contracts. (More Boeing stories.)

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