Malikah Shabazz, one of the children of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, has been denied bail by a North Carolina court in connection with grand larceny, forgery and identity theft and could face trial in New York City where warrants have been issued against her.
Shabazz, 45, has been accused of stealing the identity of a family friend, who is the widow of a bodyguard who was with Malcolm X when he was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City in February 1965.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement that Shabazz used the stolen identity to run up over $55,000 in credit card bills between August 2006 and November 2007.
The alleged theft represents a shameful betrayal of the friendship that existed between the two families, Brown said.
However, Shabazz's lawyer Sean Devereux said his client is innocent and will vigorously fight the false charges that have been leveled against her.
Devereux said Shabazz is very upset because a close family friend has accused her of theft. She's (Shabazz) known this woman. She shared a house with her for a while in South Carolina, Devereux said. That woman was going to be the guardian for Malikah Shabazz's daughter.
Shabazz was arrested last Friday when an anonymous caller tipped off Department of Social Services investigators that her daughter was not attending school. The investigators went to her Mars Hill home in western North Carolina and during interrogation found that she had several outstanding warrants issued against her in 2009 in Queens, New York.
North Carolina's judge, who denied Shabazz bail on Tuesday, did not comment on the matter but said he will reconsider his ruling if the New York authorities do not extradite her by March 4.
Shabazz's twin sister Malaak Shabazz said the whole family will stand behind her in the matter and show their support. Malikah and Malaak were born after their father's death. Their mother, Dr. Betty Shabazz died in 1997 in a fire tragedy.