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DOJ said Boeing violated agreement allowing company to avoid prosecution

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has determined that Boeing violated a "deferred prosecution agreement" that allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max Aircraft.

Since 2021, Boeing has been protected from criminal charges in the 737 Max crashes because of a settlement with the government. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice is saying Boeing didn't hold up its end of the deal.

"The families who lost their loved ones, hundreds of them, have fought very hard for this day," said Robert Clifford, an attorney representing the crash victims.

"The families are obviously very appreciative of what the department has concluded but it's an incomplete package until we know what the plan is for potential criminal prosecution. What does criminal prosecution look like for a company? I'm aware of facts in the discovery in the civil case that led me to believe people knew, the second crash of the Max 8, namely the Ethiopian crash, was preventable."

Robert Clifford, attorney


People died in the 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 in Indonesia and Ethiopia in January 2021. Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion to avoid a criminal charge accusing the company of defrauded regulators about the 737 Max.

In Tuesday's announcement, the Justice Department said boeing failed to "design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. Fraud Laws throughout its operations."

"There will be transparency now associated with the review of the criminal conduct," Clifford spoke.

Boeing has until June 13 to respond to the DOJ.

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