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Farrakhan Case Informant Tells of FBI Stipend

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal informant testified Thursday that FBI agents promised him a $45,000 stipend to pose as a hit man and expose an alleged plot by Qubilah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, to kill Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan.

The informant, Michael Fitzpatrick, also admitted that before he agreed to work with the FBI on the case, he had learned he was a target of a federal investigation into fraud in the Minneapolis coin investment industry.

Defense lawyer William Kunstler raised questions about both the stipend and the informant’s awareness of the pending federal investigation in an effort to show that Fitzpatrick had ulterior motives for secretly taping conversations with Shabazz last year.

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But prosecutors also led Fitzpatrick through a series of responses in which he denied that financial reward or the threat of federal prosecution played a role in his decision to pose as a hit man.

Called to testify during a pretrial hearing, Fitzpatrick, 34, was rattled several times, especially when he was asked by Kunstler about allegations he abused narcotics not long before he signed on as an informant.

Shabazz was indicted by a federal grand jury in January, charged with attempting to hire Fitzpatrick to assassinate Farrakhan at the Nation of Islam Mosque in Chicago. Shabazz allegedly told Fitzpatrick she feared that her mother, Betty Shabazz, was in danger because she had said that Farrakhan was involved in Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination.

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