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New York City agrees to pay $26 million to 2 men wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X murder


New York has agreed to pay $26 million to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of two men whose convictions in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X were overturned last November, city officials said.

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam were both exonerated last year after a judge found “serious miscarriages of justice” in their cases.

A 22-month investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office and the men’s attorneys found evidence of their innocence, including FBI documents, was withheld at trial.

“I regret that this court cannot fully redress the serious miscarriages of justice in this case and restore to you the many years lost,” New York County Supreme Court Administrative Judge Ellen Biben said in her ruling. ‘era.

Three men were convicted in 1966 of the murder of Malcolm X – Mujahid Abdul Halim (formerly known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan), Aziz and Islam, and were sentenced to life in prison. Aziz and Islam said they were innocent. Halim admitted to having participated in the assassination, but he maintained the innocence of the other two men.

Aziz was released from prison in 1985; Islam was released in 1987 but died in 2009 and received a posthumous exoneration.

“What is most important is that Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam have regained their reputations,” David Shanies, an attorney representing both Aziz and the State of Islam, said in a statement to CNN.

New York City agrees to pay  million to 2 men wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X murder

“They will go down in history as two brave, dignified and innocent men who never stopped fighting their tragic wrongful convictions. It was imperative that these civil lawsuits be resolved immediately and fairly, and I am pleased that New York City and its attorneys worked with us toward a just resolution,” its statement said.

Vance’s review of the case came after the 2020 Netflix documentary, “Who Killed Malcolm X?” raised a host of new questions.

Aziz filed a $40 million civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn in July, arguing that his “wrongful conviction was the product of gross official misconduct, including, among other things, by the NYPD and its intelligence unit, the Office of Special Services and Investigations.”

Paperwork for the $26 million settlement is still being finalized, but it will be split evenly between Aziz and Islam’s estate, said Nick Paolucci, press secretary for the New York City Legal Department. Court records indicate that the parties in both cases “accepted the courts’ recommendation for settlement in their respective cases.”

A spokesperson for the New York City Legal Department told CNN in a statement, “This settlement brings some measure of justice to people who have spent decades in prison and have been stigmatized for being falsely accused of murder of an emblematic figure. Based on our review, this office stands by the opinion of former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who stated, based on his investigation, that “there has an ultimate conclusion: Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongly convicted for this crime.'”


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