Prosecutors agreed Monday to drop murder conspiracy charges against the daughter of Malcolm X if she completes two years of psychiatric and drug and alcohol treatment, acknowledging that they would have had to rely on a questionable government informer if the case came to trial.
In a deal hammered out over the past few weeks and finalized over the weekend, Qubilah Bahiyah Shabazz accepted responsibility for her involvement in the plan to murder Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and agreed to drop her charges of an FBI frame-up.
Both sides described the settlement as an elegant way of defusing what had turned into an ugly and hugely controversial case, dredging up grievances of 30 years and opening federal prosecutors to accusations that they were trying to split the leadership of the black community.
The agreement also averted a trial that was to start within hours in Minneapolis. U.S. Attorney David L. Lillehaug, the prosecutor in the case, said that although he was convinced he could have won in court, the circumstances of taking the case to trial would have been difficult.
“I knew there would be a lot of sympathy for her,” he said. “… I knew that the informant had a very checkered past and would be very unsympathetic.”
When they obtained an indictment against her last January, federal authorities said Shabazz believed Farrakhan was responsible for the assassination of her father 30 years ago in a Harlem ballroom.