Two men who for decades steadfastly maintained their innocence in the 1965 assassination of civil rights icon Malcolm X are set to be exonerated Thursday, after a nearly two-year-long re-investigation.
Muhammad Aziz, now 83, and the late Khalil Islam were convicted in 1966, after a trial in which authorities withheld evidence favorable to the defense, said their attorneys, the Innocence Project and civil rights lawyer David Shanies.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office is expected to join the men’s attorneys Thursday in asking a judge to toss out the convictions.
Malcolm X was killed on Feb. 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, as he was beginning a speech.
Aziz, Islam and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim — also known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan — were convicted of murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.