Percy Sutton, the former attorney for Malcolm X, died Saturday at age 89. The following statement was issued by the White House:
His life-long dedication to the fight for civil rights and his career as an entrepreneur and public servant made the rise of countless young African-Americans possible," Obama said.
A native of Texas, Sutton served as an intelligence officer for the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II before becoming an attorney. He represented Malcolm X until the onetime Nation of Islam leader's 1965 assassination, and continued to represent his widow, Betty Shabazz, until her death in a 1997 fire. He then defended Shabazz's 12-year-old grandson, who admitted to starting the fatal blaze.