(NEWSnet/AP) – Boeing will plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge stemming from two crashes of 737 Max jetliners that killed 346 people after the government determined the company violated a previous agreement, the Justice Department said Sunday night.

Federal prosecutors gave Boeing the choice last week of entering a guilty plea and paying a fine as part of its sentence or facing a trial on the felony criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Prosecutors accused the American aerospace giant of deceiving regulators who approved the airplane and pilot-training requirements for it.

The agreement, which still must receive the approval of a federal judge to take effect, calls for Boeing to pay an additional $243.6 million fine. An independent monitor would be named to oversee Boeing's safety and quality procedures for three years. The deal also requires Boeing to invest at least $455 million in its compliance and safety programs.

The plea deal covers only wrongdoing by Boeing before the crashes, which killed all 346 passengers and crew members aboard two new Max jets.

It does not give Boeing immunity for other incidents, including a panel that blew off a Max jetliner during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, a Justice Department official said.

In a court filing Sunday night, the Justice Department said it expected to file the written plea agreement by July 19 with U.S. District Court in Texas.

Lawyers for some of the relatives of those who died in the two crashes have said they will ask the judge to reject the agreement.

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