A former Boeing technical pilot pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he deceived regulators about safety issues with the 737 Max which led to two fatal crashes.
Mark Forkner, 48, of Keller, appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in federal court in Fort Worth, with his hands shackled in front of him.
“Yes your honor,” he said when asked if he understood the charges against him.
A trial date was set for Nov. 15.
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Forkner was immediately released and walked out of the courthouse with his wife and attorneys.
“Everyone who was affected by this tragedy deserves a search for the truth, not a search for a scapegoat,” said defense attorney David Gerger. “And if the government takes this case to trial the truth will show that Mark did not cause this tragedy, Mark did not lie, and Mark should not be charged.”
The attorney encouraged others to come forward with information.
“So I want to make a request to all of you who know the truth, you may have worked at Boeing or the FAA or an airline, now is the time to help the truth come out,” Gerger said. “So contact us, get in touch with us, don’t be intimidated. A trial should be a search for the truth so help make mark’s trial a search for the truth, not a search for a scapegoat.”
Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle charges against the company but Forkner is the only person charged so far in the case.
Two crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max overseas in 2018 and 2019 killed more than 300 people.
Prosecutors accuse Forkner of hiding information from safety regulators about the jet’s software system, known as MCAS, to save the company millions of dollars.