DOJ to decide if Boeing door plug blowout violated terms of deferred prosecution agreement

Boeing could be heading towards a legal showdown with the Department of Justice over an agreement stemming from two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019. 

The DOJ had initially decided not to prosecute Boeing for a list of criminal charges, following the death of more than 360 people lost in two separate crashes of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. 

However, attorneys for some of the victim's families say the Max 9 door plug blowout over Oregon could essentially blow up that deferred prosection agreement over a violation of the terms of the agreement.


Boeing's financial woes worsen, while victims urge US to prosecute

Boeing said it lost $355 million of revenue last quarter, as it faces increasing scrutiny over the safety of its planes and accusations from whistleblowers.

Department of Justice officials recently met with some of the family members of the passengers who were killed in those crashes. The DOJ expects to make a decision on whether Boeing breached the agreement by the end of May and will let family members know if they are taking Boeing back to court.

Meanwhile, family members say they're frustrated that the company is still having safety issues, despite the loss of life years ago.   

FOX 13 obtained cell phone video of one of the victims who died in the crash in Ethiopia. It was one of the last taken by Darcy Belanger, as he waited for his flight to Kenya for a UN meeting. 

"I’m heading to the United Nations environmentalist assembly," said Belanger in the video. "I’m super excited to be going because there is a whole team of MAPS ambassadors." 

Attorney Mark Lindquist represents Darcy's wife. He says Darcy's plane, a Boeing 737 Max 8, crashed in Ethiopia while en route, killing Darcy and more than 150 others on board. 

"There was a lot of frustration and anger from the victim's families," said Lindquist. 


Following that crash, and another in Indonesia in 2018, the Department of Justice made an agreement with Boeing to defer prosecution, which Lindquist called a sweetheart deal at the time. 

"It's only a sweetheart deal if you comply with the conditions of the agreement. The question is now, ‘has Boeing complied with the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement?’" he said. 

Lindquist says, plainly speaking, a deferred prosecution agreement is designed to make sure a company like Boeing doesn't screw up again. 

"Many feel like Boeing has not been held fully accountable for the deaths on the Max 8 and the continuing problems they are having with quality control," said Lindquist. 

He feels that Boeing may have violated the agreement with the blow-out of the Max 9 door plug during the Alaska Airlines flight over Portland in January. 

"From a former prosecutor’s point of view, it seems to me the Department of Justice appears to have the evidence necessary to ask the judge to find a violation," said Lindquist.  

The DOJ met with victim families this week, saying they will notify them of a decision in the next few weeks. 

"We expect the Department of justice will tell us whether or not they will be asking the judge to find that Boeing violated the terms of their deferred prosecution agreement," said Lindquist. 

The DOJ has set the date of May 31, to let the victim's family members know about the department's decision. FOX reached out to Boeing for a statement, which they replied with "no comment."


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