Phil Bertelsen helped clear the names of 2 men wrongfully convicted of killing Malcolm X -- with an eye-opening documentary -- and he says the tears started flowing as soon as the exonerations were announced.
The director and producer behind the "Who Killed Malcolm X?" Netflix documentary joined us Friday on "TMZ Live," and told us how Muhammad Aziz reacted to having his conviction vacated.
Phil says he shared a deep embrace with Muhammad, a stoic man not prone to showing emotion, and then came a tearful "thank you" followed by feelings of joy and relief.
It's pretty incredible ... Phil's filmmaking helped get the ball rolling on clearing the names of Muhammed and Khalil Islam, who were convicted in Malcolm X's 1965 assassination despite confessed assassin Thomas Hagan saying both men were innocent.
Khalil and Muhammed did hard-time for the assassination, getting out in the 1980s.
Phil's documentary helped spur a re-investigation, which went on for nearly 2 years, culminating Thursday with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance vacating the convictions.
Khalil died in 2009 so he'll never know his name was cleared ... but Phil tells us why the exoneration was still extremely important for the families of both men.