Boeing Agrees To Plea Guilty Over 737 Max Jets Deaths

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

WASHINGTON/JAKARTA (Worthy News) – U.S.-based Boeing, one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturers, agreed late Sunday to plead guilty to conspiring to defraud the government in a case linked to crashes of its 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the plane maker had also agreed to pay a criminal fine of $243.6 million.

Yet the families of the people who died on the flights five years ago have criticized it as a “sweetheart deal” that would allow Boeing to avoid full responsibility for the deaths. One reportedly called it an “atrocious abomination.”

A U.S. judge must now approve the settlement. It was a stunning turn for the aerospace giant after the Justice Department determined that Boeing failed to live up to terms of a 2021 deal to avoid prosecution.

Prosecutors alleged that two Boeing pilots concealed vital information from the Federal Aviation Administration about a new automated control system on the Max.

The system was implicated in both crashes, causing uncontrollable dives.

By agreeing to plead guilty to the single felony count just before a midnight deadline Sunday, the company will avoid going to trial in the high-profile case, observers said.

THOUSANDS OF PLANES

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had “ordered inspections of 2,600 737 planes” to address reports that oxygen generators were shifting out of position.

The FAA said the situation could lead oxygen masks to fail if a plane loses pressure.

Yet Paul Cassell, a lawyer representing some families of people killed on the 2018 and 2019 flights, said: “This sweetheart deal fails to recognize that because of Boeing’s conspiracy, 346 people died. The deadly consequences of Boeing’s crime are hidden through crafty lawyering between Boeing and DoJ.”

He urged the judge assessing the deal to “reject this inappropriate plea and simply set the matter for a public trial so that all the facts surrounding the case will be aired in a fair and open forum before a jury” In a letter to the government in June, Cassell had urged the DoJ to fine Boeing more than $24 billion.

Zipporah Kuria, who lost her father Joseph in one of the fatal crashes, said the plea was an “atrocious abomination.”
“Miscarriage of justice is a gross understatement in describing this,” she told media. “I hope that God forbid, if this happens again, the DoJ will be reminded that it had the opportunity to do something meaningful and instead chose not to.”

Ed Pierson, executive director of the Foundation for Aviation Safety and a former senior manager at Boeing, said the plea was “seriously disappointing” and “a terrible deal for justice.”

“Instead of holding individuals accountable, they’re just giving them another get out of jail free card,” he added.

Copyright 1999-2024 Worthy News. This article was originally published on Worthy News and was reproduced with permission.


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