As the deadline looms, uncertainty and conflicting reports cloud whether the Justice Department will prosecute Boeing

    A Boeing 737 Max.

    JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

    The Justice Department is considering whether to bring criminal charges against Boeing.The NYT reported it could offer a second settlement, while Reuters said prosecutors recommend charges.If convicted of felony fraud, Boeing would risk losing significant government contracts.

    Conflicting reports suggest indecision at the Justice Department about whether to prosecute Boeing.

    The planemaker is under scrutiny as officials examine the terms of a 2021 settlement. Boeing was charged with fraud conspiracy after 346 people died in two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. It paid $2.5 billion as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.

    That deal was due to expire just two days before January’s Alaska Airlines blowout. A door plug came off a 737 Max in midair, sparking a crisis at Boeing while the DoJ examined whether this violated the settlement.

    In a May court filing, it said the planemaker had broken the terms of the agreement, and as a result, “Boeing is subject to prosecution by the United States.” Boeing said it believes that it has honored the terms of the agreement.

    The Justice Department has until July 7 to make a decision on whether to prosecute Boeing.

    On Friday, The New York Times reported that Boeing could avoid criminal charges. The firm could instead be given another deferred prosecution agreement as a result of breaking the previous one, per the NYT.

    In an email to Business Insider, Paul Cassell, an attorney representing the families of victims of the 737 Max crashes, said he received a letter from Glenn Leon, the DoJ’s criminal fraud chief, calling The Times’ report “simply not correct.”

    “The Department has not made a decision on how to proceed or whether to pursue prosecution of Boeing,” Leon added.

    Cassell, a criminal law professor at the University of Utah, said: “We hope that the DoJ is not claiming to have made ‘no final decision’ as a ploy to gain additional time to hammer out a deferred prosecution agreement deal with Boeing.”

    “There is no reason to think a second DPA deal would be any better than the first,” he added.

    On Sunday, Reuters reported that prosecutors are recommending to Justice Department officials that they do bring charges against Boeing.

    The NYT’s report said that the Justice Department believes it’s unlikely that a jury would find Boeing guilty.

    And if Boeing was convicted of felony fraud, it could jeopardize its contracts with the government — including the Defense Department — which make up significant revenue.

    The DoJ and Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent by Business Insider outside US working hours.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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