2 Men Convicted of Killing Malcolm X to Be Exonerated

18November 2021

Two men who spent decades in prison for the murder of civil rights leader Malcolm X will have their convictions thrown out, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

D.A. Cy Vance and attorneys for Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam will jointly move Thursday to vacate their convictions, the office said. Vance, in an interview with the New York Times, apologized and acknowledged the “severity of the error.”

The Times reported that the review found prosecutors, the FBI and the NYPD withheld evidence that would have likely led to an acquittal. The FBI and NYPD said they fully cooperated with Vance’s investigation.

Vance’s office launched a review of the case in early 2020 after a Netflix documentary raised serious questions about the innocence of Aziz, known at the time as Norman 3X Butler, and Islam, then known as Thomas 15X Johnson.

Mujahid Halim, who was freed on parole in 2010, admitted taking part in the killing but maintained the other two did not. Islam was paroled in 1987 and died in 2009; Aziz, paroled in 1985, is still alive.

The Innocence Project has been working with attorney David Shanies and the D.A.’s office to clear the men.

Malcolm X was assassinated Feb. 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

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