NEW YORK – The Manhattan District Attorney said he was reviewing the 1965 murder case of civil rights activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz after a documentary series raised questions about men convicted in the case.
Cyrus Vance Jr. said he was reviewing the activist’s case, better known as Malcolm X, after the documentary series “Who Killed Malcolm X?” raised questions about the murder.
“Vance has met with representatives from the Innocence Project and associated counsel regarding this matter,” the attorney’s spokesman Danny Frost said Thursday in a statement, adding that the district attorney would begin a preliminary review and inform the office about what steps can be taken.
The review occurs as streaming platform Netflix recently began broadcasting the documentary series to mark Black History Month in the United States.
One of the prosecutors assigned to the review is Peter Casolaro, who also worked on the investigation that cleared the Central Park Jogger assault case.
Malcolm X was killed Feb. 21, 1965 while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, New York.
About a year before his murder, Malcolm X had left the political and religious movement Nation of Islam, from whose members he later received death threats.
Three men were charged with his murder: Mujahid Abdul Halim (also known as Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagan), Muhammad Abdul Aziz (or Norman 3X Butler) and Khalil Islam (or Thomas 15X Johnson). All of them were sentenced to life imprisonment.
While Halim said he was involved in the plot to kill Malcolm X, he claims Aziz and Islam were innocent. Aziz, 81, was released on parole in 1985 and has maintained his innocence. Islam died in 2009 and also said he was not involved.
The Netflix series focuses on the alibis of Aziz and Islam.
According to CNN television, Aziz says he was at home taking care of his injured leg the night of Malcolm X’s murder.
Earlier this week, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said it was reviewing the case along with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit entity that helps exonerate unjustly convicted people.