NEW YORK, N.Y. (WRIC) — Two men who were exonerated last year for the 1965 assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X will be receiving a combined $36 million, according to a report from ABC News on Sunday.

According to ABC News, New York City is expected to pay $26 million, while the state of New York will pay an additional $10 million, to Muhammad Aziz, now 84 years old, and the family of Khalil Islam, who died in 2009, after a New York City judge dismissed their convictions in 2021 following new evidence of witness intimidation and suppression of exculpatory evidence that had undermined the men’s cases.

David Shanies, an attorney who represented Aziz and Islam in court, confirmed the settlements on Sunday, Oct. 30. “Muhammad Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families suffered because of these unjust convictions for more than 50 years,” Shanies said in an email obtained by ABC News.

Shanies added that the settlements indicate that “police and prosecutorial misconduct cause tremendous damage, and we must remain vigilant to identify and correct injustices,” according to ABC News.

After the convictions of Aziz and Islam were dismissed last year, Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney at the time, apologized for law enforcement’s “violations of law and the public trust,” ABC News’ report read.

On Sunday, the New York City Law Department said it agrees with Vance’s belief that the men were wrongfully convicted and the financial settlement would give “some measure of justice to individuals who spent decades in prison and bore the stigma of being falsely accused of murdering an iconic figure,” according to ABC News.

Aziz and the estate of Islam will equally divide the combined $36 million settlement. ABC News’ report stated that the two men, who were paroled in the 1980s, had maintained their innocence from the beginning after Malcolm X was shot to death on Feb. 21, 1965 while giving a speech at Audubon Ballroom in New York City.

According to ABC News, Aziz, Islam and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, were convicted of the murder in March 1966 and given life sentences.

Halim admitted to shooting Malcolm X, but said Aziz and Islam were not involved, according to ABC News’ report. Aziz and Islam gave alibis in court and no physical evidence linked them to the shooting. Instead, the case relied heavily on eyewitness accounts, though there were many inconsistencies.

Malcolm X was a prominent civil rights leader and spokesperson for the Nation of Islam. He called for racial unity among Black Americans and urged his followers to defend their civil liberties “by any means necessary,” which many viewed as a rejection of the nonviolence strategy advocated by other civil rights leaders. Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam in 1964, a move some in the organization saw as traitorous, according to ABC News.

ABC News contributed to the reporting in this article.