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Boeing Pleads Guilty To Avoid Trial Over Deadly 737 Max Crashes

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Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to fraud to avoid trial in the U.S. for charges related to two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max planes. The plea deal includes a $243.6 million fine and a commitment to invest at least $455 million in safety and compliance programs. Additionally, Boeing will be under a third-party monitor’s scrutiny for three years to assess its safety and quality procedures.

The plea relates specifically to the crashes in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people. Boeing had previously misled regulators about its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a software implicated in the crashes. This deal does not cover other safety incidents, such as a recent mid-flight blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight.

The agreement has sparked criticism, particularly from families of the crash victims, who consider it a “sweetheart deal” that allows Boeing to avoid full accountability. They urge the court to reject the plea deal and push for a public trial.

Boeing’s guilty plea could affect its ability to secure government contracts, which comprise about 40% of its revenue. However, it can seek waivers to continue doing business with agencies like the Department of Defense and NASA.

This plea follows Boeing’s previous settlement in 2021, where it paid $2.5 billion, including a $243.6 million fine, and agreed to comply with specific conditions to avoid prosecution. The Department of Justice recently found that Boeing violated this agreement, leading to the current plea deal.

Lawyers for the victims’ families argue that the deal obscures the deadly consequences of Boeing’s actions and have called for a trial to ensure complete transparency and accountability.

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