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Malcolm X’s family to file $100 million wrongful death lawsuit, alleging cover up of his murder

Susan Watts/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The family of Malcolm X announced Tuesday they intend to file a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against U.S. government agencies and the NYPD for allegedly concealing evidence related to the assassination of the civil rights leader, who was shot and killed while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on Feb. 21, 1965.

Two of Malcom X’s daughters, along with their attorneys Ben Crump and Ray Hamlin, spoke out at a press conference at The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in New York City on Tuesday, nearly six decades after their father’s death.

Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter, said that the family is seeking “justice” for a man “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,” she said. “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 … And it is our hope that litigation of this case will finally provide some unanswered questions. We want justice served for our father.”

Crump said that the lawsuit will name the city of New York, the state of New York, the FBI and the CIA as defendants.

“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?” Crump said.

The NYPD and the FBI declined to comment on pending litigation in response to requests from ABC News. ABC News reached out to the FBI, CIA, the state of New York and the City of New York, but requests for comment were not immediately returned.

Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam – the two men who were exonerated in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X – received a $36 million settlement in Oct. 2022 after lawsuits were filed on their behalf in 2021 against both the city and the state of New York.

New York City agreed to pay $26 million in settling a lawsuit filed on behalf of Aziz and also Islam, who was exonerated posthumously in the killing. Meanwhile, the state of New York also agreed to pay an additional $10 million.

A New York City Law Department spokesman told ABC News in Oct. 2022 that the settlement “brings some measure of justice to individuals who spent decades in prison and bore the stigma of being falsely accused of murdering an iconic figure.”

“Based on our review, this office stands by the opinion of former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance who stated, based on his investigation, that ‘there is one ultimate conclusion: Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongfully convicted of this crime,'” he added.

The lawsuits came after Vance, the former district attorney, moved to vacate the convictions of Aziz and Islam in Nov. 2021 after an investigation found “newly discovered evidence and the failure to disclose exculpatory evidence.”

The two-year probe, which was launched by Vance, attorneys David Shanies and Deb Francois and the Innocence Project, also found that the FBI failed to disclose documents that cast doubt on the involvement of Aziz and Islam in Malcolm X’s murder.

Vance criticized the way law enforcement handled the case and said the investigation revealed that certain witnesses, acting under orders from then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, were instructed not to reveal they were FBI informants.

Vance apologized last year on behalf of law enforcement for “serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust.”

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Nakylah Carter contributed to this report.

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