KIRO NEWSRADIO

DOJ sets critical date in potential Boeing criminal case

May 8, 2024, 4:24 PM

Image: A portion of the Boeing aircraft that housed Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 burst open while th...

A portion of the Boeing aircraft that housed Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 burst open while the plane was in the air Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has set May 31 as the date we will learn whether the DOJ will ask a judge to restart a criminal case against Boeing.

“DOJ has told the victim families and their lawyers that we will be the first to know their decision,” Attorney Mark Lindquist, who represents dozens of families of the 346 people who died in two MAX-8 crashes five years ago, said.

At the time, the DOJ began a criminal probe into Boeing but paused — or deferred it — after the company paid $2.5 billion and agreed to improve quality and safety.

“Now the question is whether or not the ongoing problems at Boeing including the door plug blowout on the Alaska Airlines MAX-9 flight, recently, constitute a violation of the terms of the deferred prosecution,” he said.

Lindquist said it’s clear the federal government is concerned about that door plug blowout, in January. He also represents passengers on that flight.

More on the company: FAA investigating after Boeing says workers falsified inspection records

“In a highly unusual move, the FBI reached out to all the passengers on the MAX-9 blowout and told them you may be the victim of a crime,” he said.

If the DOJ wants to move ahead with a criminal prosecution, and a judge agrees Boeing violated its earlier agreement, “then this will be a fresh, full-blown prosecution with all the old evidence from the MAX-8 crashes and likely new evidence from incidents such as the MAX-9 door plug blow out,” Lindquist said.

Many of the families of the deadly MAX crash victims have sued Boeing in civil court but Lindquist said they want to see Boeing tried in criminal court.

“Right now, a lot of the victim families feel like there has not yet been justice or full accountability or the necessary changes at Boeing. Victim families not only want justice and accountability, they want these problems fixed so they don’t happen again,” he shared.

Since the door plug blowout and testimony — before Congress — from Boeing whistleblowers about safety concerns, the company has insisted it is taking steps to improve quality.

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to Boeing for comment, specifically, on the DOJ investigation.

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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DOJ sets critical date in potential Boeing criminal case