DOJ Says Boeing Is Now Subject to Criminal Prosecution After Failing to Fulfill Obligations in Wake of Fatal Crashes


The Justice Department has said Boeing could face criminal prosecution because it did not live up to its word.

In 2021, Boeing signed an agreement that avoided criminal prosecution connected with two 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department wrote the judge responsible for overseeing the 2021 agreement that “the Government has determined that Boeing breached its obligations” under a deferred prosecution agreement  “by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations.”

“For failing to fulfill completely the terms of and obligations under the DPA, Boeing is subject to prosecution by the United States for any federal criminal violation of which the United States has knowledge,” the letter said.

The finding came as officials delve into Boeing’s quality control procedures after a Jan. 5 incident in which a panel blew off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet. That incident took place two days before the 2021 agreement was set to expire, according to Reuters.

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Passengers on the flight were later informed by the FBI that they might be crime victims, according to USA Today.

Since that incident, whistleblowers and investigators have come forward to claim there are multiple shortfalls in the company’s quality control procedures that cover multiple sites and multiple aircraft.

Reuters said the Justice Department’s action could lead to criminal prosecution over the 2018 and 2019 crashes, which would not only carry huge fines, but further erode Boeing’s public image.

Should Boeing face criminal charges?

Boeing has to respond by June 13, the letter said. The Justice Department will decide whether it will prosecute Boeing by July 7.

Boeing said it has adhered to the agreement.

“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,” Boeing said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“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,” the statement said.

Paul Cassell, a lawyer who represents the families of the victims of the 2018 and 2019 crashes, said the families will meet with the Justice Department on May 31 about the case, according to The New York Times.

“This is a positive first step and, for the families, a long time coming,” Cassell said. “But we need to see further action from DOJ to hold Boeing accountable.”

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In summing up Boeing’s recent problems, CNN noted that the plane involved in the door panel incident did not have the four bolts needed to keep the door in place when it left the factory. A Federal Aviation Administration report has said Boeing has “gaps in Boeing’s safety journey,” while the FAA has been critical of how Boeing produces its planes.  Whistleblower complaints have targeted the company’s 777 and 787 jets.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at
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