New York Times: Two men convicted of killing Malcolm X to be exonerated


Norman 3X Butler, left, and Thomas 15X Johnson will have their convictions thrown out.

Sonia Moghe CNN

(CNN) — Two of the three men convicted of the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X are expected to be exonerated Thursday by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, according to a report by The New York Times.

A 22-month investigation conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and lawyers for the two men, Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, found that prosecutors and the FBI and the New York Police Department withheld key evidence that would have likely led to their acquittal, according to The Times.

The men were known at the time of the killing as Norman 3X Butler (Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (Islam).

In an interview with The Times, Vance apologized for the failure of law enforcement and said, “This points to the truth that law enforcement over history has often failed to live up to its responsibilities.”

Vance said, “These men did not get the justice that they deserved.”

The evidence during the investigation, according to the report, showed failures that included FBI documents which revealed information that “pointed away” from the two men, and prosecutors’ notes that did not disclose undercover officers present in the ballroom at the time of the shooting.

According to The Times, the reinvestigation found that had new evidence been presented to a jury, the two men may have been acquitted.

Aziz, 83, was released from prison in 1985, and Islam was released in 1987 and died in 2009.

CNN has reached out the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which announced a press conference for Thursday. CNN has also reached out the Innocence Project as well as attorneys for the two men.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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