Attorney General Garland to Meet with Boeing Victims’ Families

Attorney General Merrick Garland will meet within the week with families of victims of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

Paul Cassell

In a filing in federal court in Ft. Worth, Texas, the Justice Department said that the Attorney General “intends to meet with certain representatives of the crash victims and their counsel and seeks to do so within the next week.”

The filing was a response to a lawsuit filed by the crash victims in December 2021 detailing how the Department of Justice lied and violated their rights through a secret process that led to Boeing receiving a favorable deferred prosecution agreement. 

The families now seek remedies that include rescinding the provision that allowed Boeing to receive immunity from criminal prosecution.

Paul Cassell, an expert in the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), is representing the Boeing victim families.

Cassell argues that “if the government is going to craft a deferred prosecution agreement for a serious felony crime, including one that gives a corporation like Boeing immunity, it cannot do so secretly.”

“In concealing its negotiations from Boeing’s victims, the government plainly violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act – a broad bill of rights protecting victims of federal crimes,” Cassell said.

Cassell said that it is unprecedented in CVRA cases for an Attorney General to meet with victims’ families and he praised Garland for a “humane and moral decision.”

The families will ask Garland to “agree with them that the victims’ families were not conferred with in violation of CVRA.”

And if Garland agrees?

Then the families will seek remedies that include rescinding the provision that allowed Boeing to receive immunity from criminal prosecution, Cassell said.

“The victims need to be given an opportunity to shape the deal that the government is cutting,” Cassell said. “Boeing got months and months to shape the deferred prosecution agreement. We want the same access.”

And has such a sweetheart deal ever been revoked?

Well, there was the case of Jeffrey Epstein.

In 2008, victims of the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking organization filed a CVRA challenge to the secret sweetheart non-prosecution agreement in that case. Along with Brad Edwards, Cassell represents the victims in that case. 

“We argued that a possible remedy for concealing the non prosecution agreement from the victims was rescission of the immunity provision in the Epstein non prosecution agreement,” Cassell said. “The district judge agreed that was a possible remedy in 2013, and then ordered further proceedings on whether the deal was arranged illegally.”

“The CVRA is properly interpreted to authorize the rescission or re-opening of a prosecutorial agreement – including a non-prosecution arrangement – reached in violation of a prosecutor’s conferral obligations under the statute,” the judge ruled.

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