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It’s Time to Prosecute Boeing for Deadly Misconduct

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 14, the U.S. Department of Justice notified Judge Reed O’Connor of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas of its finding that Boeing violated the deferred prosecution agreement the aerospace corporation entered to resolve misconduct connected with Boeing’s deadly 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. In February, Public Citizen encouraged the Department of Justice to consider filing multiple criminal counts, including possibly for manslaughter, for the 2018 and 2019 crashes, if it determined the deferred prosecution agreement had been violated.

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement:

“Having concluded that Boeing violated the outrageous leniency agreement the corporation struck with the Trump administration in 2021, federal prosecutors should now, finally, hold Boeing accountable for its criminal misconduct.

“Trump DOJ’s Boeing deal (a ‘deferred prosecution agreement’ or DPA) allowed the company to escape meaningful accountability for the 2018 and 2019 Boeing 737 crashes, which took 346 lives. Because Boeing violated the terms of the DPA, federal authorities now can revisit what appropriate charges should have been filed related to those deadly crashes – informed, also, by the fact that Boeing failed to address the safety culture issues those crashes highlighted.

“If the facts and law support it, the DOJ should now file multiple counts against Boeing, including manslaughter charges.

“The basic question is: Should corporations that unintentionally kill in the pursuit of profit be granted more grace than individuals whose negligence or recklessness leads to loss of life? The answer is obvious. Now it’s time for the DOJ to deliver justice to the families and to society – and to send a message that life-endangering corporate recklessness will not be tolerated.