It’s Malcolm: Out on bail for lawyer assault

A New York judge has thrown out a murder conviction involving the assassination of Malcolm X. A pair of New York state appeals court judges ruled that the original judge and prosecutor in the case committed misconduct in allowing questionable evidence to be admitted at the trial. In a concurring opinion, Judge Nicholas Garaufis noted that “vigorous lawyering and the careful examination of the legal record in this case led to a stunning inversion of the original course of action in this case”. The case dates back to February 20, 1965, when Malcolm X was shot seven times by assassins at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Robert Farmer was convicted of masterminding the assassination on January 25, 1966. Bernard Hampton was convicted of guarding Farmer during the shooting. Both Hampton and Farmer were convicted in large part based on eyewitness testimony that lent credence to Farmer’s version of events. But Hampton’s version of events was absent in the trial documents. In fact, both Hampton and Farmer testified that the film clip used to prove Farmer’s alibi was obtained through a black power speech delivered by Robert F. Kennedy just eight days before the assassination. Because Hampton was never called upon to testify at trial, the prosecution never took a cross-examination of his testimony. New York Post columnist Fred Dicker, one of the leading voices in the black nationalist movement, described both as “crimes against justice and humanity”. Following the assassination, Hampton and Farmer were put in solitary confinement for three years, before being released.

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