The Seattle Times reported late last week that a former Boeing pilot, Mark Forkner, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when asked to provide documents to a federal grand jury investigating the crashes of two Boeing 737 Max airliners. Forkner, whose official title was Chief Technical Pilot, is now a first officer with Southwest Airlines. He declined to comment for the Seattle Times article, as did his attorney.
The Fifth Amendment right allows witnesses to stay silent so as not to incriminate themselves in a proceeding, part of United States law. Taking the Fifth, say legal experts, isn’t an admission of guilt but merely a protection against possible legal liability, though it usually doesn’t prevent a grand jury from requiring witnesses to turn over documents, as Forkner was being asked to do.
It’s not known what specifically the grand jury is empaneled to investigate. Both the FAA and Boeing’s roles in the certification of the latest-gen Boeing single-aisle airliner have been called into question by federal investigators.
Read the full Seattle Times article here.
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