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Man exonerated in the killing of Malcolm X sues New York state for $20 million

By: April Carson

A man who was wrongfully convicted of murdering Malcolm X and released from prison last month is suing New York state for $20 million, claiming it caused him "grave miscarriages of justice."

Muhammad Aziz, 83, was one of the three men convicted in 1966 of Malcolm X's murder in the first degree. He spent 20 years in prison and was released in 1985. Another man, Khalil Islam, was also sentenced and paroled in 1987. In July 2018, a jury found two men guilty of murdering Malcolm X, finding that they were employees of the Nation of Islam. A third man, Mujahid Halim, was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison. According to the lawsuit, Halim testified at a trial that he murdered Malcolm X and said Aziz and Islam had nothing to do with the assassination.

Aziz's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, alleged that New York state police detectives coerced Halim into testifying falsely against Aziz and Islam. The lawsuit also said police detectives withheld evidence that would have helped clear Aziz and Islam's names. "The defendants' misconduct

After a Netflix documentary raised concerns about the case, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office began an inquiry into it in 2020, and both Islam's and Aziz's convictions were overturned in November.

"Mr. Aziz spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and indignity associated with being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of the most important civil rights leaders in history," according to the complaint.

The men were cleared more than 55 years after their conviction, and lawyers for the men said new findings revealed that FBI files and other evidence that had been accessible at the time of their trial was "withheld from both defense and prosecution."

"The government's misconduct that resulted in Mr. Aziz's wrongful conviction, including the fabrication of evidence and the suppression of compelling evidence of his innocence, was unique in its extremity and audacity," according to the complaint.

The firm's attorneys turned down a request for comment. On the day when Aziz and Islam's convictions were overturned, he apologized to them.

On behalf of our country's law enforcement, I apologize for this decades-long wrong, which has eroded public confidence in institutions designed to guarantee equal protection under the law," Vance said in November. "We can't return what was taken from these men and their families, but by correcting the record, we may be able to start rebuilding that trust."

Aziz's lawsuit recounts the physical, emotional, and psychological anguish he endured after being imprisoned for 20 years in several maximum-security facilities throughout New York state. He was 26 years old when he went to prison and came out at 46.

"This lawsuit is about making things right," said Aziz's attorney, Andrew Celli. "It is an opportunity for the state of New York to admit its mistakes and to compensate my client for the years of his life that were stolen from him."

In November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that his office had determined that Aziz was innocent of the killing of Malcolm X and that two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (no relation to Mustafa) and Kahlil Islam, were responsible.

The lawsuit names the state of New York, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and several officials as defendants.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav







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