FBI withheld evidence in Malcolm X murder trial, convictions dismissed – rt usa news

A New York judge overturned the convictions of two black men for the 1965 murder of activist Malcolm X, after a new investigation based on a Netflix documentary found the FBI withheld proof of their innocence.

State Supreme Court Judge Ellen Biben overturned the convictions of Muhammad A. Aziz (aka Norman 3X Butler) and Khalil Islam (aka Thomas 15X Johnson), who were charged with murdering Malcolm X in Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan and sentenced to life in prison in 1966.

Thursday’s decision to quash their sentence follows a 22-month investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and lawyers for the two men, which revealed prosecutors and the FBI had withheld evidence that could have exonerated Aziz and Islam during their trial.

According to the investigation, prosecutors did not reveal that undercover police were present at the Audubon Ballroom at the time of the shooting. The New York Police Department did not reveal that the New York Daily News received a call advising them of the impending assassination. The FBI did not tell state officials that a particular man who matched the description of one of the killers was known to them, and even identified by an informant – leaving Aziz and Islam to blame. the place.

The investigation did not find a government or police plot to have Malcolm X killed, or reveal who prosecutors say is really to blame. FBI notes identified the assassin with a shotgun described by a witness as “Dark-skinned, stocky and having a” deep “beard” as William Bradley, aka Al-Mustafa Shabazz. He died in 2018 and his lawyer denied participating in the murder.

Bradley was an executor of Nation of Islam, the organization that Malcolm X joined in 1952 but broke away in 1964 to start a new group, the Organization of African-American Unity.

The third man convicted of the murder, Mujahid Abdul Halim, confessed to the murder and his conviction has not been overturned. He always maintained that Aziz and Islam were innocent. The two have spent decades trying to get their names cleared. Aziz was released from prison in 1985 and is now 83 years old. Islam was released in 1987 and died in 2009, aged 74.

“It was not a simple oversight” their lawyer Deborah Francois told the New York Times. “It was the product of an extreme and gross official foul. “

“These men did not get the justice they deserved”, said DA Vance. The failure is irremediable, he added, “But what we can do is recognize the error, the seriousness of the error. “

His new investigation was inspired by the Neftlix documentary series “Who Killed Malcolm X? », Moderated by Abdur-Rahman Muhammad. After the start, a book was published accusing Bradley of being one of the murderers. Les and Tamara Payne’s “The Dead Are Arising” won a Pulitzer Prize in the biography category.

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FBI withheld evidence in Malcolm X murder trial, convictions dismissed – rt usa news