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Manhattan DA reinvestigating Malcolm X assassination after Netflix series poses new questions

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Posted at 2:32 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 14:32:17-05

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office says it is reviewing the murder case of civil rights activist Malcolm X after a Netflix docuseries raised questions about two of the men convicted in the case.

Malcolm X was murdered while delivering a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan on Feb. 21, 1965. About a year prior to his murder, Malcolm X had left the Nation of Islam, prompting death threats from members of the community.

Three men were charged with Malcolm X's murder: Mujahid Abdul Halim (also known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan), Muhammad Abdul Aziz (also known as Norman 3X Butler) and Khalil Islam (also known as Thomas 15X Johnson). All were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

While Halim said he was involved in the plot to kill Malcolm X, he claims Aziz and Islam were innocent. Aziz, 81, was paroled in 1985 and has maintained his innocence. Islam died in 2009, and also said he was not involved.

The Netflix series Who Killed Malcolm X? focuses on Aziz and Islam's alibis. According to historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, the subject of the series, neither Aziz nor Islam were at the Audubon Ballroom the night Malcolm X was killed.

According to CNN, Aziz maintains that he was at home nursing an injured leg on the night of Malcolm X's murder.

On Monday, the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said it was reviewing the case alongside the Innocence Project, a non-profit group that helps exonerate wrongfully convicted people.

"District Attorney Vance has met with representatives from the Innocence Project and associated counsel regarding this matter. He has determined that the district attorney's office will begin a preliminary review of the matter, which will inform the office regarding what further investigative steps may be undertaken," said a statement from Vance's office according to NBC News.