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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
8:21 AM – Monday, July 8, 2024

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to criminal fraud tied to the fatal 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people after the government determined the company violated an agreement that had protected it from prosecution for more than three years. Boeing confirmed that it had agreed to the deal. 

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The aerospace titan will pay up to $487 million in fines, which is a small amount compared to the $24.8 billion that families of crash victims wanted the aircraft maker to pay. However, the families of the victims of the two fatal crashes of the 737 Max oppose the deal, according to the Department of Justice. 

With the deal, it could play a major factor in Boeing’s ability to sell products to the U.S. government as a felon, though the company could seek waivers. Meanwhile, almost 32% of Boeing’s nearly $78 billion in revenue last year came form its defense, space and security unit. 

The U.S. accused Boeing of conspiracy to defraud the government by misleading regulators about its inclusion of a flight-control system on the Max that was later implicated in the two MAX crashes, a Lion Air Flight in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019. All 346 people on board the flights were killed. 

Additionally, the agreement states that Boeing will have to operate under the oversight of an independent monitor, to be chosen by the government, for a three-year period. However, the deal did not satisfy the families of the victims. 

“This sweetheart deal fails to recognize that because of Boeing’s conspiracy, 346 people died,” said a statement from Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah who represents many family members of the 2018 Lion Air crash and 2019 Ethiopian Air crash victims.

“This deceptive and generous deal is clearly not in the public interest,” he added. The families are seeking a public trial on the charges.

Furthermore, the deal does not cover any current or former Boeing officials, only the corporation. 

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