Trapped into trying to settle vendetta
November 23, 1998
Qubilah Shabazz, daughter of assassinated black leader Malcolm X, was arrested in June 1995 and charged with plotting to kill Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the man she thought murdered her father 30 years before.
The story behind the headline was even more bizarre: Michael Fitzpatrick, the government informant from New York who tipped the feds to the plot, had a history of trying to persuade people to commit violent acts, dating to the 1980s. He also had a history as a paid informant for federal agents.
He told federal agents that, for a fee, he could deliver evidence about the supposed plot. They agreed to pay him $45,000 to nail Shabazz in the sting, court records show.
He sought out Shabazz, whom hed known since high school, lured her from New York City to Minneapolis, convincing her his interests were romantic, then planted the idea of arranging to have Farrakhan killed, according to court records.
She never went to trial. Instead, she signed a statement accepting responsibility for her involvement in the plot and agreed to two years of psychiatric and drug and alcohol treatment. She received two years probation, which ended last year and all charges were dismissed.
Prosecutors said the paper she signed proved her guilt. Defense attorneys insisted it proved nothing but a government conspiracy that had entrapped an innocent person.