WASHINGTON — Legal representatives for the families of victims in the 737 MAX crashes are arguing in court that aerospace giant Boeing breached its agreement with the US government made in 2021. This follows the company's recent plea of not guilty to fraud charges.

Boeing pleaded not guilty in court on January 26th to defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration during the certification process of the 737 MAX. However, on February 1st, lawyers representing the families of crash victims pointed out in a filed document that the aerospace giant's settlement with the US government in 2021 prohibits the company from rejecting the acceptance of responsibility for actions described in the "Statement of Facts."

As part of the settlement with the US government, Boeing signed an agreement called "Statement of Facts," which states that company employees misled the Federal Aviation Administration about the functionality of the aircraft's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The failure of this system was determined as the root cause of the Lion Air and Ethiopian 737 MAX 8 crashes that killed 346 people.

"Boeing stating it is 'not guilty' of conspiring to defraud the FAA directly contradicts the Statement of Facts stating that Boeing is guilty of conspiring to defraud the FAA," the attorneys noted in the filing.

During an arraignment on January 26th, Boeing entered a plea of not guilty. Despite being granted immunity from prosecution as part of its 2021 settlement with the US government, the hearing was ordered by federal judge Reed O'Connor. Under the terms of the agreement, the American aircraft manufacturer agreed to pay a total of $2.5 billion in penalties and compensation to customers and families of victims in two fatal 737 MAX crashes.