Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance will seek to vacate convictions of two men in Malcolm X murder

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  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the Innocence Project will ask a judge to vacate the wrongful convictions of two men for the 1965 murder of black civil rights leader Malcolm X.
  • The planned move comes after an investigation by Vance’s office and the men’s lawyers, Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, found that the FBI and the New York Police Department had withheld vital evidence that likely acquitted them.
  • Prosecutors’ notes show that they failed to tell defense attorneys that Audubon was an undercover police officer in the ballroom when Malcolm X was shot by three gunmen.

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the Innocence Project will ask a judge on Thursday to vacate the wrongful convictions of two men for the 1965 murder of black civil rights leader Malcolm X, a Vance spokesman said.

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The planned move comes after a nearly two-year investigation by Vance’s office and the men’s attorneys, Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, found that the FBI and the New York Police Department had withheld vital evidence, possibly in their 1966 trial. would have acquitted them. The New York Times reported this news on Wednesday.

That evidence contained notes from prosecutors showing they failed to tell defense attorneys that There were undercover police officers in the Audubon Ballroom When Malcolm X was shot by three gunmen on February 21, 1965, in Washington Heights in Manhattan, The Times noted.

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Vance said last year that he would love the Netflix documentary series “Who Killed Malcolm X?” Will review the culprits after its release. Which underlined the long-standing questions about the fairness of the convicts.

Aziz and Islam were both released from prisonI After two decades behind bars for the murder of Malcolm X, who was just 39 years old, in the mid-1980s when he was shot in front of his pregnant wife and their three daughters.

Islam, who worked as a driver for Malcolm X, died in 2009. Aziz, 83, is still alive.

A hearing for acquittal requests is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

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A third man convicted in the murder, Mujahid Abdul Halim, admitted to being one of the three gunmen that day, but said neither Islam nor Aziz was one of the killers.

Haleem’s conviction will not be affected by the acquittal of the other two persons.

All three men were members of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X’s extremist group, before leaving in 1964 to practice traditional Sunni Islam.

Malcolm X’s departure from the Nation of Islam led to him being labeled a traitor by the group’s leadership. A week before he was killed, Malcolm X’s home in Queens was set on fire.

The Times noted on Wednesday that evidence withheld from defense attorneys at trial included an FBI report that disclosed New York officials had not been told that another man, Islam promoter William Bradley. , was a suspect in the murder.

Bradley also matched the description of one of the shooters given by an eyewitness.

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