DOCUMENT: Investigation, Crime

Malcolm X Diary Returned To Family

Thirty five years after Malcolm X was gunned down in New York's Audubon Ballroom, the blood-stained diary found in his breast pocket has been quietly returned to his family, The Smoking Gun has learned. With no fanfare or ceremony--just the perfunctory signing of a release form--the historical artifact was turned over to the estate of Betty Shabazz, Malcolm's wife, by the Manhattan district attorney's office.

The bullet-riddled diary, sitting in a plastic evidence bag, was released to the Shabazz estate last October, three weeks after Douglas Henderson, a former court clerk, was sentenced for stealing the item from court files in 1991. The probe of Henderson was triggered when TSG first reported that the diary had turned up for auction in San Francisco--and was clearly stolen goods.

Joseph Fleming, attorney for the Shabazz estate, told TSG that Malcolm's and Betty's children have scheduled a family meeting in April to discuss what to do with the red leatherette diary, which Fleming is now holding for safekeeping. It appears likely that the diary will eventually be donated to either Harlem's Schomburg Center or the education and research facility now housed in the renovated Audubon Ballroom. The Shabazz estate, Fleming said, is involved in "ongoing discussions" with both groups regarding the unique artifact.

In April, the Shabazz family will also discuss whether they want to review evidence files to determine if more of their father's belongings are available, said Fleming. That material was compiled for use at the trial of the three men convicted of the February 1965 homicide.