- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2004

A former Air Force official was sentenced to nine months in prison yesterday after admitting that she helped Boeing Co. obtain a lucrative contract in hopes of landing an executive job at the company.

Darleen Druyun offered a tearful apology “to my nation, to my Air Force.”

“I deeply regret any damage I have done,” she said.

Druyun pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to violate conflict-of-interest rules by negotiating with Boeing for a job while overseeing Pentagon consideration of a $23 billion deal to provide 100 refueling-tanker planes. She was hired by Boeing and then fired 10 months later for what the company called unethical conduct.

“She did this as a parting gift to Boeing and to ingratiate herself into Boeing,” said federal prosecutor Robert Wiechering.

Even after her guilty plea, Druyun had maintained that her crime was merely a technical violation and that she had upheld the government’s interests during the contract process.

But she later failed a lie-detector test and conceded that her conflict produced substantive benefits for Boeing, prosecutors said. She also admitted altered journals to cover up her story.

Judge T.S. Ellis III in U.S. District Court in Alexandria sentenced Druyun to nine months in prison and seven months in a halfway house, less than the 16 months of prison time sought by prosecutors.

Druyun’s attorney, John Dowd, said he was pleased with the sentence.

He acknowledged to the judge that Druyun had lied at first about the scope of her wrongdoing. “She had difficulty coming to grips with some matters,” Mr. Dowd said. “But she did. She finally did.”

The Defense Department is reviewing the refueling-tanker deal.

Prosecutors said former Boeing Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears improperly contacted Druyun about a potential top-level company job in 2002, when she still was with the Air Force and playing a key role in deciding whether Boeing should get the tanker contract.

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