Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead After Testimony

( – The sudden death of a whistleblower who was preparing to testify against Boeing has raised more questions than answers. 62-year-old John Barnett was a Boeing employee for more than three decades and was testifying about what he says were poor quality control decisions made by the airplane manufacturer. Barnett had testified for more than seven hours on March 7 and was preparing to deliver more testimony when he was found dead in his vehicle on March 9.

Barnett was staying at a hotel while testifying in another whistleblower’s case against the company. When his lawyers could not reach him they called the hotel to check his room and members of the staff found him in his vehicle, dead from a gunshot wound. Initial reports said that Barnett committed suicide but many people including his own lawyer have questioned that conclusion. Barnett’s attorney, Brian Knowles, told TMZ that his client’s death was “tragic” and made sure to emphasize that suicide was “alleged.”

Knowles also said that Barnett had been preparing in a very serious manner for his coming testimony and gave no indications that he was hesitant about doing it. Barnett claimed that prior to his 2017 retirement Boeing had been cutting corners and potentially putting passengers in danger. Specifically regarding the 787 Dreamliner jet, he alleged that Boeing was not following guidelines as they pushed to get it finished.

Boeing has had a series of negative events in recent months. The most notable was a blowing off an Alaskan Airlines jet as it was climbing to cruising altitude in January of this year. After reviewing Boeing’s practices, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined the company was engaging in “unacceptable” quality control measures.

The death of Barnett caused a firestorm on social media, it even lead to the hashtag #Epsteined trending for much of the day on March 12. The term refers to the notorious child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein whose jail suicide was questioned by many observers. Boeing released a statement offering its condolences to Barnett’s family and friends.

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