Crash Victims’ Families React to May 31 DOJ Conferral Meeting
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    Crash Victims’ Families React Following DOJ Conferral Meeting on 5/31 as Government is Still Determining the Route to Follow in Criminal Proceedings Against Boeing

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    Posted on May 31, 2024 To
    Crash Victims’ Families React Following DOJ Conferral Meeting on 5/31 as Government is Still Determining the Route to Follow in Criminal Proceedings Against Boeing

    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told family members Friday, May 31, that it has not made a decision yet as to the direction it intends regarding the prosecution of Boeing for the deaths of 346 people in two crashes involving its aircraft some five years ago. During the meeting, family members expressed great concern over thinking the DOJ would negotiate a plea agreement that could limit future action to fines, restitution, and other court-ordered probation measures. They asked for full transparency including a criminal trial on conspiracy and other possible criminal charges against Boeing and their executives responsible for the two crashes.

    In an all-day meeting with victims’ families of the Boeing 737 MAX8 crashes on Friday, May 31, 2024, following the Department’s recent decision that Boeing violated the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) entered into three years ago with the airline manufacturer, DOJ officials laid out the alternatives against Boeing as a criminal defendant.

    Throughout the day the families, both in person and on the internet, pleaded for justice and accountability by asking the DOJ to move Boeing’s criminal prosecution forward in the normal pattern in criminal cases. Specifically, the families asked for a public trial of Boeing within 70 days of July 7, 2024, according to criminal statutory requirements. They pleaded for information and transparency of facts that they still don’t have to understand what happened. They said they are counting on the DOJ to do the right thing. Family members also asked for an expert aviation monitor to be placed at Boeing’s facilities with a retrospective and prospective ability to examine records to improve safety. Over and again, families reiterated that they don’t want a third crash to occur.

    Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices and Lead Counsel in the civil litigation against Boeing in the crash in Ethiopia, is present at the Department of Justice (DOJ) meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 31st, 2024, with family members. He said the following:

    “The DOJ tells us that they have yet to decide about how to proceed against Boeing going forward. The families have been strongly urging the DOJ to prosecute Boeing versus supporting a negotiated plea agreement. In fairness to the DOJ, they are trying very hard to ‘listen’ to the families’ views. So, we expect the DOJ to come away from this meeting with a plan to prosecute for conspiracy and any related crimes. In this meeting, the families put the DOJ to task to fulfill its charter mission to seek justice for the public. A simple plea deal without teeth doesn’t accomplish that charter.”

    DOJ prosecutors had agreed to defer prosecution in exchange for the defendants to fulfill certain safety requirements, but last month they concluded that Boeing has not been in compliance with the requirements set out in the DPA. That means that one of the alternatives is that criminal charges against the corporation may proceed in federal district court in Texas before Judge Reed O’Connor who is overseeing the criminal matter.

    DOJ officials also laid out other possibilities including that Boeing could plead guilty to the charges, extending the term of the DPA for up to one year, or entering into a new form of a DPA (a non-prosecution agreement) that would mean the case would not proceed in a courtroom but could result in a negotiated plea.

    In the DPA, Boeing agreed to fully cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing investigation of the airline manufacturer’s safety practices and procedures and would implement further safety measures as well as pay a fine to the families. If Boeing had fully complied, the Justice Department would have moved to have all charges dropped against the airline manufacturer. The DOJ said in a letter to Judge O’Connor that Boeing breached its DPA obligations “by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations.”

    Yesterday, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, including Administrator Michael Whitaker, met with Boeing executives in a three-hour meeting regarding the aviation manufacturer’s safety compliance report that the government agency requested 90 days ago. In a press conference yesterday, Whitaker reported that it has put more inspectors on the manufacturing facilities at Boeing’s facilities and that the FAA at this time will not allow Boeing to increase its production of aircraft, which has been cut back while greater inspection of the production line is being conducted. Weekly meetings and monthly reviews are currently ongoing at Boeing, he said. Whitaker said the goal is “systemic change” at Boeing.

    Families from the U.S. and other countries who lost loved ones in the crashes of the MAX8 jet five years ago are expected to attend in person or via the Internet with representatives of the DOJ in a second “conferral meeting.” Families met in April to voice their concerns about Boeing’s actions since the two deadly crashes that took 346 lives. It is expected that families will offer their input as crime victims under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act as to the ongoing prosecution of criminal charges against Boeing.

    For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 cell.

    Among the family members present at DOJ meeting:

      • Paul Njoroge, (Kenyan-born) (in person) – Canada. Lost his whole family: wife, Carol, 33; three children, Ryan, 6; Kelli, 4; Rubi, 8 months; and his mother-in-law, Anne Karanja
      • Catherine Berthet, France, lost her daughter, Camille Geoffroy, 28 (on the web)
      • Zipporah Kuria, England, lost her dad, Joseph Kuria, 55 (on the web)
      • Javier de Luis, Massachusetts, lost his sister, Graziella de Luis, 63. Isabel de Luis, surviving sister) (both on the web)
      • Chris and Clariss Moore, Toronto, Canada (in person); lost their daughter, Danielle Moore, 24
      • Ike and Susan Riffel, California, (in person) lost his two sons, Melvin, 29, and Bennett. 26. Melvin was married and his wife was seven months pregnant. Their daughter, Emma never met her dad.
      • Dennis Adhoch, lost his wife Immaculate Achieng Odero, 29, and sister of Immaculate, Emmy Auma Odero (both on the web)
      • Naheed Noormohamed, son, and Aleema Noormohamed (both on the web), daughter, lost father, Ameen Noormohamed, 72, from Kenya and Canada
      • Joshua Babu, Kenya, lost his son, Jared Mwazo, 28 (on the web)
      • Helen Tilahun, Ethiopia, lost her husband, Sintayehu Aymeku Ayane, 45 (on the web)
      • Luca Dieci, Georgia, (in person) lost his brother, Paolo Dieci, 58 of Italy