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Boeing Whistleblower’s Lawyers Call For Investigation Into Client’s Death

via WTHR
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John Barnett, a 62-year-old veteran Boeing employee who had raised safety concerns about their North Charleston plant, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his hotel room the day after being deposed by Boeing lawyers as part of a retaliation lawsuit against the company.

His lawyers said he was in good spirits and did not appear suicidal.

“We are all devastated. We need more information about what happened to John. The Charleston police need to investigate this fully and accurately and tell the public what they find out. No detail can be left unturned,” attorneys Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles stated.

“He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on. We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it.”

Barnett had retired in 2017 after blowing the whistle on alleged safety issues and substandard parts in Boeing aircraft.

“We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” Boeing stated.

“Today is a tragic day,” Knowles said. “John had been back and forth for quite some time getting prepared. The defense examined him for their allowed seven hours under the rules on Thursday. I cross examined him all day yesterday (Friday) and did not finish. We agreed to continue this morning at 10 a.m. (co-counsel) Rob (Turkewitz) kept calling this morning and his (Barnett’s) phone would go to voicemail.”

“We then asked the hotel to check on him. They found him in his truck dead from an ‘alleged’ self-inflicted gunshot. We drove to the hotel and spoke with the police and the coroner,” Knowles said.

His death occurred just days before further depositions in his lawsuit against Boeing over claims of safety oversight failures and quality control issues in planes like the 737 and 787.

“One, this is not a 737 problem, it’s a Boeing problem,” Barnett said. “The reason my concern for that is, back in 2012, Boeing started removing inspection operations off their jobs. So it left the mechanics to buy off their own work.”

His lawyers are calling for a full investigation, saying no details can be overlooked, while expressing disbelief that Barnett would take his own life so close to the deposition’s conclusion.

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