New York City agrees to settle lawsuits with two men acquitted in Malcolm X murder

New York City has agreed settlement of cases Last year was filed by two men acquitted in the murder of Malcolm X. The city will pay $26 million for the wrongful conviction of Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison following their conviction for the 1965 murder.

According to the Associated Press, New York State will also pay an additional $10 million.

“This settlement brings some measure of justice to those who spent decades in prison and falsely accused of the murder of an eminent figure,” a spokesman for the city’s law department said in a statement to CBS News. “Based on our review, this office stands on the opinion of former Manhattan District Attorney Vance, who based his investigation stated that ‘there is one final conclusion: Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongly convicted of this crime. went.'”

David B. Shainy, an attorney representing the assets of Aziz and Islam, said the acquittals of the two men were “long overdue. New York City made the right decision by settling these lawsuits promptly and by not prolonging the injustice. We stand for the judge.” Very grateful. Substantial efforts to facilitate fair and speedy resolution.”

Last year, Manhattan Judge convicts dismissed Aziz, now 84, and Islam, who died in 2009, said prosecutors said new evidence of intimidation of witnesses and suppression of incriminating evidence had weakened the case against the men. Then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. apologized for law enforcement’s “serious, unacceptable breach of law and public trust.”

Shenise said the settlement documents would be signed in the next few weeks and the New York court that deals with probate cases would have to approve the settlement for Islam’s assets. A total of $36 million will be divided equally between the assets of Aziz and Islam.

Malcolm X
Mohamed Aziz, center, stands outside the courthouse with members of his family on Thursday, November 18, 2021, in New York after pleading guilty in the murder of Malcolm X.

Seth Wenig / AP

Aziz and Islam, who had maintained their innocence from the beginning in the 1965 murder at the Audubon Ballroom in Upper Manhattan, were released on parole in the 1980s.

Malcolm X rose to national prominence as the voice of the Nation of Islam, encouraging black people to assert their civil rights “by any means necessary.” Her autobiography, written with Alex Haley, remains a masterpiece of modern American literature.

Near the end of Malcolm X’s life, he broke away from the Black Muslim organization and, after a trip to Mecca, began to speak about the possibility of racial unity. This made him angry with some in the nation of Islam, who saw him as a traitor.

On February 21, 1965, he was shot dead while initiating a speech. He was 39 years old.

Aziz and Islam, then known as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, and a third man were convicted of murder in March 1966. He was sentenced to prison.

A third person, Mujahid Abdul Halim – also known as Talmaj Heyer and Thomas Hagen – admitted to shooting Malcolm X, but said neither Aziz nor Islam was involved. Both offered excuses, and no physical evidence linked them to the crime. The case rested on the eyewitnesses, though there were discrepancies in their testimony.

Lawyers for Aziz and Islam said in the complaints that both Aziz and Islam were in their homes in the Bronx at the time of Malcolm X’s murder. He said Aziz spent 20 years in prison and lived with hardship and outrage for more than 55 years after being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of history’s most important civil rights leaders.

Islam spent 22 years in prison and died hoping to clear his name.

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