In the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, two men are expected to be cleared.
NEW YORK (AP) — Two men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X are set to be freed after more than half a century, according to a news report released Wednesday. Prosecutors now claim that authorities withheld evidence in the civil rights leader’s death.
Following a nearly two-year investigation by their lawyers and the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison for the crime, were exonerated, according to the New York Times.
The court date is set for Thursday.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told the newspaper, “These men did not get the justice they deserved.”
Vance announced on Twitter that his office, the Innocence Project, and a law firm would work together to have the convictions overturned, with more information expected on Thursday.
READ MORE: Malcolm X was’marked for murder,’ and he knew it.
Malcolm X rose to prominence as the Nation of Islam’s chief spokesperson, proclaiming the Black Muslim organization’s message at the time: racial separatism as a path to self-actualization. He was one of the most controversial and compelling figures of the civil rights era.
He famously urged African-Americans to assert their civil rights “by any means necessary.”
In Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom, he was gunned down as he began a speech on Feb.
On this date in 1965,
In March 1966, Aziz, Islam, and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim — known as Talmadge Hayer at the time of the murder and later as Thomas Hagan — were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Hagan testified that he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X, but that neither Aziz nor Islam played a role.
Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, as they were known at the time, maintained their innocence throughout.
In a sworn statement in 1977, Hagan stated, “Thomas 15 Johnson and Norman 3X Butler had no involvement in this crime at all.”
Hagan was released on parole in 2010.
Two other men were identified as gunmen by him, but no one else was ever arrested.
The FBI had documents that pointed to other suspects, according to The New York Times, and a still-living witness supported Aziz’s alibi…
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