Indicted Aerospace Execs Ask Judge To Dismiss DOJ’s Antitrust Suit

Defense lawyers for indicted aerospace executives and managers urged a Connecticut federal judge to dismiss criminal antitrust charges alleging they participated in a scheme to restrict employee hiring and recruitment.

The defendants, including a former manager at Raytheon Technologies Corp subsidiary Pratt & Whitney, were charged in December 2021 for their alleged roles in a long-running criminal conspiracy. Prosecutors said the indictment was the first in an ongoing probe of alleged labor-related antitrust violations in the aerospace engineering services industry.

Criminal defense lawyers for Mahesh Patel, formerly of Pratt & Whitney who is described by prosecutors as an alleged leader of the conspiracy, and the other defendants said the no-poach agreements central to the case were “legitimate business collaboration” and not criminal acts. The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

“This case is unlike any criminal antitrust case the Department of Justice has ever brought,” the defense lawyers wrote. “It is unsupported by legal precedent and is contrary to DOJ’s own public guidance on the type of employee ‘no-poach’ agreements that DOJ will prosecute as violations of the criminal antitrust law.”

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