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Boeing will get a ‘sweetheart’ plea deal, says lawyer representing 737 Max crash victims

CNN  —  The US Justice Department is nearing an agreement with Boeing that would include a corporate monitor and a fine in exchange for a guilty plea to criminal charges — an offer the lawyer representing the families of victims of two fatal 737 Max crashes harshly rebuked as a “sweetheart deal.” “I can tell you that the families are very unhappy and angered with DOJ’s decisions and proposal,” said Robert Clifford, lead counsel in the civil litigation against Boeing. “There is no accountability, no admission that Boeing’s admitted crime caused the 346 deaths, and the families will most certainly object before Judge Reed O’Connor and ask that he reject the plea if Boeing accepts.” Specific terms of the proposed offer were not immediately known, and CNN has not reviewed the proposal first-hand. Bloomberg first reported the potential plea deal Sunday. Boeing declined to comment, and the Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment. Last month, the Justice Department notified Boeing that its recent string of safety failures and production problems constituted a breach of the terms of its 2021 agreement in which the company avoided criminal charges for two fatal 737 Max crashes. A door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines flight shortly after takeoff in January, and the investigations that followed revealed a series of quality errors and safety gaps. As a result, the Department of Justice said Boeing is subject to criminal prosecution, but it has not publicly announced its decision about whether it will prosecute the case. Last week, prosecutors urged the Justice Department to file criminal charges. Boeing will have by the end of the week to determine whether to accept the plea deal or go to trial. The deadline for the Justice Department to file criminal charges in the case is July 7. This is a developing story and will be updated. CNN’s Gregory Wallace and Rashard Rose contributed to this report