A federal judge has ordered Boeing Co to be charged with a felony in connection with the crashes of two 737 Max planes, a ruling that threatens to destroy a deal Boeing made to avoid prosecution. Two accidents that took place in346 people died.
The judge’s decision in Texas came after relatives of some of the victims said the government violated their rights by reaching a settlement with Boeing without notifying the families.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ordered Boeing to send a representative to a Fort Worth courtroom on Jan. 26 for the arraignment.
Last year, O’Connor ruled that relatives of those killed in the crashes are victims of crimes under federal law and should have been consulted before the Justice Department agreed to a deal in which Boeingto avoid prosecution on the fraud count of federal regulators who approved the 737 Max.
“We are pleased that the court agreed to our request for an indictment and rejected the arguments of Boeing and the US Department of Justice,” attorney Paul G. Cassell, who represents the families of some of the victims, said in a statement to CBS. Thursday news.
Most of the money from the settlement went to airlines that could not use their Max planesafter planes were grounded worldwide. Boeing agreed to pay a $243.6 million fine and set up a $500 million fund to compensate the families of the victims.
Last September, Boeingto settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations it misled the public and investors by claiming the plane was safe despite knowing the flight control system posed a safety hazard.
October 18, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610into the ocean off West Java, Indonesia shortly after takeoff. All 189 people on board died.
About five months later, on March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302also immediately after takeoff, near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board.
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