Malcom X’s family brings $100m lawsuit accusing CIA, FBI and NYPD of ‘plan to assassinate’ leader

Two of three men convicted in assassination of activist have been exonerated

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 22 February 2023 00:08 GMT
Activist Ben Crump announces lawsuit against FBI, CIA, and NYPD over Malcolm X assassination

The family of influential Black liberation activist Malcolm X plans to sue the FBI, CIA, and New York Police Department, alleging the law enforcement agencies played a part in a “plan to execute” the leader, who was shot dead in 1965 during a speech in Manhattan.

"For years, our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder," Malcom X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, who was present at the shooting as a two-year-old, said on Tuesday during a press conference. "We would like for our father to receive the justice he deserves."

The family of Malcom X, represented by influential civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, argues in the $100m lawsuit that officials withheld evidence in the original prosecution of three men convicted of killing the activist in an effort to conceal their own roles in the death.

"It’s not just about the triggermen," Mr Crump said at the news conference. "It’s about those who conspired with the triggermen to do this dastardly deed."

The Independent has contacted the FBI and NYPD for comment.

The CIA declined to comment.

Three men were originally convicted of the assassination: Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Aziz, and Khalil Islam.

At trial, Mr Halim confessed to being one of the assassins, but said Mr Aziz and Mr Islam were innocent.

Decades later, after the other men spent a combined 42 years in prison, his claims were validated.

In 2021, both men were exonerated, after a review of the case from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Innocence Project found that agencies including the FBI and NYPD withheld key exculpatory evidence.

Officials found in the course of the review that prosecutors failed to disclose key facts to the defence like the presence of undercover officers in the speech hall where Malcom X was killed, or that NYPD files contained records that a reporter for the New York Daily News got a tip that the activist would be assassinated.

The review also interviewed some of the few remaining witnesses to the shooting, who backed up Mr Aziz’s alibi that he was at home during the killing, and found that a witness described another man known to the FBI but not convicted as one of the gunmen.

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