A federal judge has ordered Boeing to appear in federal court in Texas next week for an arraignment on a fraud charge involving the certification of the 737 MAX.
Boeing and the US 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 to the court that they should have been allowed to participate in the case under a federal crime victim law. In October, the judge sided with them.
In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Reed O’Connor said Boeing must appear for an arraignment and that the family members or their attorneys may speak at the proceeding.
This legal process is separate from the civil action the victims’ family members filed against Boeing.
The Clifford Law Office, representing the victims’ family members in the civil suit, said in a statement that it is “rare in US aviation law history that a corporation is arraigned on criminal charges regarding the deaths of plane crash victims.”
In September, Boeing and its former CEO Dennis Muilenburg agreed to pay hefty fines to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that they misled the public about the safety of the 737 Max following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.