Two of the three men convicted of killing prominent civil rights leader Malcolm X will be exonerated after 55 years, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced on Nov. 17.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said that the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam are expected to be thrown out on Nov. 18 after a 22-month investigation found evidence of their innocence.
According to Vance, the investigation conducted jointly with the lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York Police Department had withheld key evidence that would have likely led to the men’s acquittal at the trial decades ago.
“This points to the truth that law enforcement over history has often failed to live up to its responsibilities,” Vance told The New York Times.
The investigation also found that key documents and physical evidence were lost over the years and many witnesses, investigators, and potential suspects have died.
Aziz, also known as Norman 3X Butler, and Islam, also known as Thomas15X Johnson and who died in 2009, always maintained their innocence.
The third man convicted was Mujahid Abdul Halim who confessed to playing a role in the assassination but has maintained that Aziz and Islam were innocent.
Vance said he will announce the findings of the investigation in a news conference on Nov. 18.
The investigation followed the release of a Netflix documentary series titled, “Who Killed Malcolm X?” last year, further raising decades of speculation on the case.
On Feb. 12, 1965, Malcom X — one of the most influential Black leaders in America — was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City where hundreds gathered to hear his speech. It was one of the most notorious murders of the civil rights area.
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