NEW YORK (AP) — Two of the three men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X have been exonerated after decades of doubt about who was responsible for the civil rights icon’s 1965 death.
A Manhattan judge dismissed the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam on Thursday.
Prosecutors and the men’s lawyers said a new investigation found new evidence that the men were not involved with the killing and determined that authorities withheld some of what they knew.
According to The New York Times, the investigation found that prosecutors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York Police Department withheld evidence that likely would lead to the acquittal of the two men.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told the newspaper that the men did not get the justice they deserved.
Malcolm X was gunned down as he began a speech in Harlem's Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965.
Aziz and Islam maintained their innocence from the start in the killing. They provided alibis and no physical evidence linked them to the crime.
Both were paroled in the 1980s. Islam died in 2009.
Aziz says his conviction resulted from a process that was, in his words, “corrupt to its core.”
The third man convicted in the killing, Mujahid Abdul Halim, admitted to shooting Malcolm X but said neither Aziz nor Islam was involved, The Associated Press reports.
Halim was paroled in 2010. A relative told the AP that he declined to comment on the exonerations.