malcolm x assassination to be re-investigated by team that exonerated ‘central park 5′
By Erin White
February 13, 2020
With the assassination of Malcolm X fresh on people’s minds with Netflix’s Who Killed Malcolm X?, questions are now being re-examined by the public and, potentially, legally. “There’s been considerable doubt about the guilt of two of the three men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X,” said Phil Bertelsen and Rachel Dretzin, who are co-directors and producers of Who Killed Malcolm X?
The Innocence Project, the group that works tirelessly to exonerate wrongly convicted Americans, recently met with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance about the case, according to Vance’s spokesman, Danny Frost.
“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,” Frost said in a statement to ABC News.
Since then, Frost confirmed that Senior Trial Counsel Peter Casolaro, who was part of the team that re-investigated and ultimately dismissed the “Central Park Five” case and convictions in 2002, will now assist in the Malcolm X re-examination.
“The primary reason is that the only assassin (Thomas Hagan) caught at the scene and carrying a weapon, said that the other two men — Thomas Johnson and Norman Butler — were innocent at the trial,” Peter Casolaro said to ABC News via email. “Ten years later, when attorney William Kunstler attempted to reopen the case, Thomas Hagan maintained the innocence of Johnson and Butler, and named the men he said were the real accomplices in a sworn affidavit.”
Hagan served 44 years in prison before being released in April 2010. Norman Butler was released on parole in 1985. Now, he is 81 and has spent decades declaring his innocence in an attempt to clear his name. Thomas Johnson died in 2009.
“I hope these investigations will bring about clarity and transparency regarding this devastating, criminal act against my family and all the devoted followers of a beloved Malcolm,” Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, told ABC News in an emailed statement late Thursday. “My father lived his life advocating for and in the pursuance of truth. He deserves the same dedication to truth from all of us.”
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