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Boeing responds to Justice Department’s allegations, says it didn’t violate deferred prosecution agreement

FAA says it's holding Boeing accountable
What to know about FAA's oversight of Boeing amid safety concerns 03:05

Embattled aircraft giant Boeing Wednesday argued to the Justice Department that the company has upheld its end of a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement, and pushed back at federal prosecutors who wrote last month that the plane manufacturer has violated the deal and risked being prosecuted, two people familiar with the discussions confirmed to CBS News.

Boeing's response was submitted after prosecutors told a federal judge in Texas in May that the company had breached the agreement that would have led to the Justice Department dropping criminal charges tied to the two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 — which killed a total of 346 people — because prosecutors said Boeing did not set up sufficient compliance measures.

Boeing responded Wednesday and said it disagreed, the two people said. Bloomberg first reported the news.

A federal judge in Texas is overseeing the back-and-forth between the parties. Boeing had until Thursday to counter the Justice Department's claims.

When reached by CBS News, the Justice Department declined to comment on the report.

In January 2021, Boeing and the federal government reached a deal in which the company agreed to pay a $2.5 billion settlement and abide by certain stipulations in exchange for the Justice Department dropping a fraud conspiracy charge after three years. That three-year period was scheduled to expire in July.

However, last month, federal prosecutors wrote that Boeing "breached its obligations" under the deferred prosecution agreement, in part by allegedly 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." 

In January, the cabin door of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-MAX 9 blew out minutes after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. Then in March, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News that prosecutors were looking at whether anything that led up to or contributed to the blowout might affect the deferred prosecution agreement. 

In a statement provided to CBS News Wednesday, a Boeing spokesperson said that "we'll decline to comment on any specific communications with the Justice Department, however we continue to engage transparently with the Department, as we have throughout the term of the agreement."

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