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Engineer charged with obstruction of justice following 2017 plane crash that killed 16 military members

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A former Georgia engineer has been arrested for making false statements and obstructing justice during a federal criminal investigation into the military plane crash that claimed the lives of 16 military members in Mississippi.

On July 10, 2017, a United States Marine Corps KC-130 transport aircraft known as “Yanky 72” crashed near Itta Bena, resulting in the death of 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman. Nearly seven years later, James Michael Fisher, formerly of Warner Robins, Georgia and currently residing in Portugal, was arrested on an indictment issued by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Mississippi, charging him with obstruction of justice and false statements during a criminal investigation into the cause of that crash.

According to the indictment, Fisher, 67, a former lead Propulsion engineer at the Warner Robins Logistics Center, engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to avoid scrutiny for his past engineering decisions related to the cause of the crash. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Fisher knowingly concealed key engineering documents from criminal investigators and made materially false statements about his past engineering decisions pertaining to the aircraft.

Fisher is charged with two counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the case with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Leary and Philip Levy leading the prosecution.

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