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Justice Department says Boeing violated deal that avoided prosecution after 737 Max crashes

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Justice Department says Boeing violated deal that avoided prosecution after 737 Max crashes
News

News

Justice Department says Boeing violated deal that avoided prosecution after 737 Max crashes

2024-05-15 08:39 Last Updated At:08:50

WASHINGTON (AP) — Boeing has violated a settlement that allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft more than five years ago, the Justice Department told a federal judge on Tuesday.

It is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether to file charges against Boeing. Prosecutors will tell the court no later than July 7 how they plan to proceed, department said.

New 737 Max jets crashed in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia, killing 346 people. Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department in January 2021 to avoid prosecution on a single charge of fraud — misleading federal regulators who approved the plane. Boeing blamed the deception on two relatively low-level employees.

In a letter filed Tuesday in federal court in Texas, Glenn Leon, head of the Justice Department criminal division's fraud section, said Boeing violated terms of the settlement by failing to make promised changes to detect and prevent violations of federal anti-fraud laws.

The determination means that Boeing could be prosecuted “for any federal criminal violation of which the United States has knowledge,” including the charge of fraud that the company hoped to avoid with the settlement, the Justice Department said.

However, it is not clear whether the government will prosecute Boeing.

“The Government is determining how it will proceed in this matter,” the Justice Department said in the court filing. Boeing will have until June 13 to respond the government's allegation, and department said it will consider the company's explanation “in determining whether to pursue prosecution.”

Boeing Co., which is based in Arlington, Virginia, disputed the Justice Department’s finding.

“We believe that we have honored the terms of that agreement, and look forward to the opportunity to respond to the Department on this issue," a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement. "As we do so, we will engage with the Department with the utmost transparency, as we have throughout the entire term of the agreement, including in response to their questions following the Alaska Airlines 1282 accident.”

Boeing has come under renewed scrutiny since that Alaska Airlines flight in January, when a door plug blew out of a 737 Max, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the jetliner. The company is under multiple investigations into the blowout and its manufacturing quality. The FBI has told passengers from the flight that they might be victims of a crime.

Prosecutors said they will meet on May 31 with families of passengers who died in the two Max crashes. Family members were angry and disappointed after a similar meeting last month.

Paul Cassell, a lawyer who represents families of passengers in the second crash, said the Justice Department's determination that Boeing breached the settlement terms is "a positive first step, and for the families, a long time coming.”

“But we need to see further action from DOJ to hold Boeing accountable, and plan to use our meeting on May 31 to explain in more details what we believe would be a satisfactory remedy to Boeing’s ongoing criminal conduct,” Cassell said.

Investigations into the crashes pointed to a flight-control system that Boeing added to the Max without telling pilots or airlines. Boeing downplayed the significance of the system, then didn’t overhaul it until after the second crash.

After secret negotiations, the government agreed not to prosecute Boeing on a charge of defrauding the United States by deceiving regulators about the flight system. The settlement included a $243.6 million fine, a $500 million fund for victim compensation, and nearly $1.8 billion to airlines whose Max jets were grounded for nearly two years.

Boeing has faced civil lawsuits, congressional investigations and massive damage to its business since the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Koenig reported from Dallas.

FILE - Safety cards in seat backs are seen on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft awaiting inspection at the airline's hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Jan. 10, 2024, in SeaTac, Wash. The Justice Department says Boeing violated a settlement that let the company avoid criminal prosecution after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

FILE - Safety cards in seat backs are seen on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft awaiting inspection at the airline's hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Jan. 10, 2024, in SeaTac, Wash. The Justice Department says Boeing violated a settlement that let the company avoid criminal prosecution after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Rookie Petar Musa had three goals for FC Dallas, finishing off his first career hat trick with the go-ahead score in the second half of a 5-3 victory over Minnesota United on Wednesday night.

Musa used an assist from Paul Arriola to find the net for the first time, giving Dallas (5-8-5) a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Musa's second goal came with an assist from Bernard Kamungo in the 38th minute for a 2-1 advantage. He put Dallas on top for good in the 62nd minute — with an assist from Sebastian Lletget — for a 3-2 lead.

Jesús Ferreira used 22-year-old rookie forward Logan Farrington's first career assist to score in the 75th minute for a two-goal lead. Ferreira's goal was his fourth of the season. Farrington followed with his first career goal off another Lletget assist to make it 5-2 in the 90th minute. Farrington has made two starts and 13 appearances this season.

Minnesota United (8-5-5) evened the score at 1-1 in the 32nd minute when Bongokuhle Hlongwane used Joseph Rosales' eighth assist of the season to score his fourth goal.

Hlongwane helped tie it at 2-all when he fed Hassani Dotson for a goal in the 57th minute. It was the third goal of the campaign for Dotson and the third assist for Hlongwane.

Maarten Paes saved four shots for Dallas.

Clint Irwin totaled three saves in his second start of the season for Minnesota United.

Dallas evens the all-time series at 7-7-4 by improving to 5-2-2 against Minnesota United at home.

Dallas has won both of its matches since Peter Luccin took over as interim manager. Dallas beat St. Louis City 2-0 in Luccin's debut.

The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw 11 days ago.

Minnesota United has won just once in its last six matches and was coming off a 2-0 road loss to the Seattle Sounders. Teemu Pukki did not play against Dallas because of an issue with his knee.

Minnesota United heads back home to play Austin FC on Saturday. Dallas travels to play the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport

Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin (11) handles the ball next to FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) and forward Paul Arriola (7) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin (11) handles the ball next to FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) and forward Paul Arriola (7) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Petar Musa (9) celebrates his third goal against Minnesota United with midfielder Sebastian Lletget (left) and forward Dante Sealy (11), during an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Petar Musa (9) celebrates his third goal against Minnesota United with midfielder Sebastian Lletget (left) and forward Dante Sealy (11), during an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) reacts as he falls to the ground while defending against Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) reacts as he falls to the ground while defending against Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas interim coach Peter Luccin waves to fans before the team's MLS soccer match against Minnesota United on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas interim coach Peter Luccin waves to fans before the team's MLS soccer match against Minnesota United on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United midfielder Hassani Dotson (31) reacts after missing a shot, near FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira (10) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United midfielder Hassani Dotson (31) reacts after missing a shot, near FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira (10) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira (10) scores a goal next to Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod (17) during the second half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira (10) scores a goal next to Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod (17) during the second half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United midfielder Caden Clark (37) dribbles between FC Dallas defender Sam Junqua (29) and midfielder Liam Fraser (18) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United midfielder Caden Clark (37) dribbles between FC Dallas defender Sam Junqua (29) and midfielder Liam Fraser (18) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas defender Sam Junqua (29) heads the ball over Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas defender Sam Junqua (29) heads the ball over Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) passes the ball back toward goalkeeper Maarten Paes during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against Minnesota United on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas midfielder Asier Illarramendi (14) passes the ball back toward goalkeeper Maarten Paes during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against Minnesota United on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Petar Musa (9) celebrates his goal against Minnesota United with forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng (16) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FC Dallas forward Petar Musa (9) celebrates his goal against Minnesota United with forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng (16) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) watches as the ball lands in the back of the net for a goal during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against FC Dallas on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) watches as the ball lands in the back of the net for a goal during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against FC Dallas on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) heads the ball for a goal next to FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes (30) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Minnesota United forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane (21) heads the ball for a goal next to FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes (30) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. (Elías Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

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