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Who Killed Malcolm X? Family to File $100M Suit v. FBI, CIA, NYPD & Others to Find the Truth

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On the 58th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump announced a new lawsuit from Malcolm X’s surviving family seeking compensation from the NYPD, CIA and FBI for its role in concealing evidence in his murder case. This lawsuit comes more than a year after it was confirmed that federal and local agencies had a role in the wrongful conviction of Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam for the murder. Aziz and Islam’s convictions were overturned in 2021, and they were awarded a $36 million settlement for wrongful imprisonment by the state and city of New York. We air excerpts of Tuesday’s public comments from Crump and one of Malcolm X’s daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, of their intent to file a wrongful death lawsuit over evidence concealed in the murder investigation, in part to seek answers on the extent of the government’s involvement in the civil rights leader’s death.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

The family of Malcolm X has announced plans to file a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the FBI, the CIA, New York City and the state, the NYPD and New York District Attorney’s Office for concealing evidence of their involvement of Malcolm X’s assassination. The family’s announcement came on Tuesday, the 58th anniversary of Malcolm’s assassination, February 21st, 1965.

This all comes just three months after New York City and New York state agreed to pay a total of $36 million to settle lawsuits on behalf of two men who were wrongfully convicted and jailed for decades for assassinating Malcolm X. In 2021, a judge tossed out the convictions against the men, Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, after finding serious miscarriages of justice.

On Tuesday, Malcolm X’s daughter Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, standing at the site of the assassination February 21st, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, held a news conference. They spoke about Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz at the memorial and educational center in their name.

BENJAMIN CRUMP: Fifty-eight years ago today in this very room, one of the greatest thought leaders ever known in the 21st century was assassinated. And since that time, there has been speculation as to who was involved in the assassination of Malcolm X.

We know, on November 18th, 2021, it was confirmed and substantiated that the government agencies — the New York Police Department, the FBI, the district attorney of New York — had factual evidence, exculpatory evidence, that they fraudulently concealed from the men who were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X, and they also fraudulently concealed that information, most importantly, from the family of Malcolm X. We know that based on their wrongful conviction, that the government settled the matter of Mr. Azir [sic] and Mr. Islam —


BENJAMIN CRUMP: Mr. Aziz — for tens of millions of dollars. This is important for many reasons. One of the most important reasons, it gives Malcolm’s daughters an opportunity to seek legal redress, finally, based on the government’s admission that they concealed evidence involving the assassination of Malcolm X. The truth of what happened and who was involved has always been critical.

So, today at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, we announce and give formal notice to the city of New York, the state of New York, and the federal government and its agencies, the FBI and the CIA, that the family members intend to sue, bring a wrongful death lawsuit based on these new revelations that have now finally been substantiated. And the rhetorical question is this: If the government compensated the two gentlemen that were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X with tens of millions of dollars, then what is to be the compensation for the daughters, who suffered the most from the assassination of Malcolm X?

We intend to have vigorous litigation of this matter, to have discovery, to be able to take depositions of the individuals who are still alive 58 years later, to make sure that some measure of justice can be given to Malcolm X’s daughters, who in this very room were present with their mother when he was shot at 21 times, 17 bullets hitting him. If anybody deserves justice after these decades, it is these women. … So, at this time, you will hear from Malcolm’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz.

ILYASAH SHABAZZ: On February 21st, 1965, my mother came here excited to see her husband, because a week prior her home had been firebombed. She walked in here happy, and she left out shattered.

Today, we will celebrate our father’s life and legacy with the community, because it is something that my mother did every year for as long as I can remember, with my sisters and just the larger community. We will also seek justice for a man, a very young man — he was only 39 years old — who gave his life for human rights.

For years our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder, and we’d like our father to receive the justice that he deserves. The truth about the circumstances leading to the death of our father is important not only to his family but to many followers, many admirers, many who looked to him for guidance, for love. And it is our hope that litigation of this case will finally provide some unanswered questions. We want justice served for our father. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Malcolm X’s daughter Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz, speaking Tuesday at the site where Malcolm X was assassinated 58 years ago, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. Well, during the news conference, I asked the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, about the role of the CIA in the murder of Malcolm X.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the evidence that the CIA was involved with Malcolm X’s assassination?

BENJAMIN CRUMP: Well, Amy, we are going to talk to those individuals who were wrongfully convicted, not just of the assassination but in the days leading up to the assassination, that we believe this was an orchestrated effort. And so, what we have to do is connect the dots. And, you know, as people get older, as they get ready to meet their maker, the hope is that they will look at Malcolm X’s daughters and say, “We wronged them, and we need to make that right before we leave this Earth.”

AMY GOODMAN: Family attorney Ben Crump.

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