New York City agrees to pay $26 million to 2 men wrongly convicted of Malcolm X murder trial
Rasul’s lawyers asked for $1.4 million for a total of nearly $3 million, with $20 for the expert testimony of Anthony Hill and $2 million for a third expert witness, Kenneth Williams.
The men are represented by a nonprofit group in Chicago and were unable to pay court costs.
Rasul’s lawyers also said Rasul was held “for no purpose” after the conviction. Rasul was exonerated by DNA evidence and has been out on bail since 2013.
“I don’t want to be known as the Rasul who never paid for a taxi,” Rasul’s lawyer, Alan Zegel, said at the sentencing.
As the man convicted but not charged became more vocal, prosecutors took the unusual step of adding a sentence of life in prison to the plea deal.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan called the plea deal “a travesty of justice and clearly an abuse of the state’s power.”
Rasul’s case is being closely watched by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing whether his conviction was a miscarriage of justice and whether authorities in New York and the FBI had withheld exculpatory evidence, the people briefed on the case said.
Zegel called the plea deal “an out of the blue request” by Manhattan federal prosecutors to give Rasul a “get out of jail free” card.
“It was just a complete coincidence,” he said. “We didn’t hear anyone in the government say, ‘He’s going to win this trial.’”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen P. Felson said he was not surprised that the deal was approved. New York City