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Manhattan DA’s office to review Malcolm X assassination after Netflix documentary

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s (D) office said that it will review whether to reinvestigate the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X amid questions a new Netflix documentary raises about the killing.

The documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” argues that two of the men convicted in the killing could not have been present. It points instead to four Nation of Islam members from Newark, N.J., one of whom appeared in an ad for now-Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) mayoral campaign, The New York Times reported.

“I knew him well,” Booker says in the documentary of William Bradley, who has since changed his name to Almustafa Shabazz. Booker adds that he was unaware that Shabazz, who died in 2018, was named as an accomplice in an affidavit by Talmadge Hayer, later Mujahid Abdul Halim, who admitted to his part in the killing. 

The D.A.’s preliminary review “will inform the office regarding what further investigative steps may be undertaken,” an official for Vance’s office told the Times last week. The team conducting it will include prosecutor Peter Casolaro, who played a major role in the exoneration of the five men wrongly convicted and imprisoned in connection with the rape and assault of a jogger in central Park in 1989.

One of the men arrested in connection with the killing, Muhammad Abdul Aziz, then named Norman 3X Butler, was paroled in 1985 and continues to deny participating in the killing. He says that security would have blocked his entry to the Audubon Ballroom where the civil rights leader was killed, and that he had recently been the victim of a police beating that would have left him unable to either pull off the assassination or flee the scene.

In the documentary, Aziz maintains his innocence, but is skeptical his name will be cleared.

“I just don’t believe in these people,” he says. “I got 20 years of my life to show that I shouldn’t believe in them.”

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