A federal judge has ordered Boeing to appear in a Texas federal court next week to stand trial on charges of fraud related to the certification of the 737 MAX.
Boeing and the U.S. government in 2021 entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in this case without the participation of family members of the 737 Max crash victims, who then argued in court that they should have been allowed to participate in the case under a federal victim law. In October, the judge sided with them.
In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Reed O’Connor said Boeing should stand trial and that family members or their attorneys may speak in the lawsuit.
This legal process is separate from the civil lawsuit that family members of the victims have filed against Boeing.
The Clifford Law Firm, which is representing family members of the victims in the civil suit, said in a statement that it was “rare in the history of US aviation law for a company to be prosecuted for criminal charges related to the deaths of plane crash victims.”
In September, Boeing and its former CEO Dennis Muilenburg agreed to pay huge fines to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that misled the public about the safety of the 737 Max after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.