April 8th, 2014
01:27 PM ET
3 months ago

Sharpton denies any wrongdoing in FBI informant role

(CNN) – Al Sharpton sharply denied Tuesday he did anything wrong when he disclosed information about the mafia to the FBI starting in the 1980s.

"I did what was right. I did what I was always raised in the values of a praying mother to do," he said at a news conference in New York. "And I did what I tell kids every day, all over this country what they should do, and that is deal with getting guns and crime out of their community and cooperating with the law."

While it's been reported that Sharpton had previously assisted the FBI in cases involving celebrities, the website The Smoking Gun revealed Monday that the civil rights activist, MSNBC host, and friend of the Obamas was also involved in revealing secrets about five organized crime families

Labeled in documents as "C1-7" by FBI agents, the report said Sharpton especially cooperated with the federal agency, as well as the New York Police Department, to get dirt on the Genovese crime family. He reportedly carried a bugged briefcase to record conversations with mob bosses.

The report states that agents approached Sharpton after he was caught speaking to an undercover agent about drugs, though he did not explicitly offer to arrange a drug deal. That tape surfaced in 2002 in an HBO show as he was thinking about running for president.

In an interview on CNN’s “Crossfire” that same year, Sharpton explained the tape and denied he did anything wrong.

“One first would have to ask the question, Why would the FBI be trying to entrap me and then 19 years later come out with part of the tape, rather than coming out with the end of the situation, where we clearly said we wouldn't do drugs,” he said, adding that the HBO show should have aired more of the tape, which would have told the whole story.

He added at the time that he didn’t know the dealer was an FBI agent until “later” when “they came and said that he was an undercover agent.”

Asked if he became an informant, Sharpton, as he’s done this week, fired back and disputed that being an informant is a bad thing.

“To cooperate with the government is - in those cases, informant? I don't think so,” he said.

Sharpton reiterated Tuesday that the situation was being misconstrued, and he cast blame on the media for drawing conclusions that Sharpton's assistance to the FBI had derived from legal troubles.

"And I guess the message (the media) want to give is 'Don't do that because some wanna act like you a turncoat, like you are a criminal.' We're not criminals. We're not thugs. We are not those that find comfort having them in our community," he said.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at an annual convention Friday in New York hosted by Sharpton's organization, the National Action Network. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and three Obama Cabinet secretaries are also set to speak.


Filed under: Al Sharpton • FBI
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Only in the uniqure world of right wing political spin is being an FBI informant made out to be a bad thing.

    April 8, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    The main problem with blacks is they take things for granted. They need to abide with law. They can not get away just because they are blacks. Work for ethics.

    April 8, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. mr muggles

    Ever listen to this guys radio show. Pretty sure there are a considerable amount of staged callers. they seem to call right before the break and end with perfect timing

    April 8, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Sharpton a RAT huh? Not sure why anyone is surprised. Most Democrats are RATS, DemocRATS!! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

    April 8, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. reggie53

    I would not trust anything coming out of Al Sharpton's mouth. He had better start looking over his shoulder....you never know who might be looking for him.

    April 8, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. barryinlasvegas

    Who could have guessed this piece of human poop would claim he was a "victim"? The real victims are the black people he has and continues to take advantage of.

    Too bad the mob didn't waste him.

    April 8, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. BLUNDERSON

    GURGYL..What the hell are you talking about. You're racism is showing through.

    April 8, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. MMoore

    The report in this article jeoparizes the life of Mr. Al Sharpton. A friend of government from the beginning, Mr. Sharpton deserves better than that. What media person can we (the public) hold responsible for this?

    April 8, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Steve

    Rudy NYC, I would recommend you go short anytime Al calls for a guilty verdict if you want to have any money left. That man never gets his facts straight. He might care, but his blatant racism is staggering. If Jesse and he want crime and guns out of communities, then head to the South Side.

    April 8, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Boo

    Really? You're telling me that the FBI couldn't get a better informant than this guy? By the way, isn't he still in arrears on paying the lawsuit settlement regarding the man who was the victim of the Tawana Brawley case?

    April 8, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Steve

    Not a fan of Al Sharpton at all...but I do find it amusing that Conservatives would try to spin how giving the FBI information on organized crime is bad thing

    April 8, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Norma jean

    I'm with anyone who is trying to get guns off the strreets......So. Cal has had a very bad couple of months with innocent s being shot.It's getting to where one hardly wants to be outside after dark.....even in your own yard........I was born and raised here and never before was afraid of getting shot...but now I am very careful where I go and when!!!
    !

    April 8, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Right wingnuts would not trust anything coming out of Sharpton's mouth, but have no problem with the lies fed them by Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, the Kochs, and the rest of the Fox stooges.

    April 8, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Dan

    The report states that agents approached Sharpton after he was caught speaking to an undercover agent about drugs, though he did not explicitly offer to arrange a drug deal. That tape surfaced in 2002 in an HBO show as he was thinking about running for president.

    April 8, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Tampa Tim

    I think I would trust the Rev. Al, before I would believe any of the crap republicans are saying.

    April 8, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. al m

    question how does a preacher have so much info on the mafia second if he was feeding de fbi info they must have had something on him right ? was this the same fbi that was hounding martin luther king day and night and sharpton talks of doing the right thing what a hipocryte.

    April 8, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. whodat

    If a person sees wrong doing in their community and the FBI wants to use them to help catch the criminals, how does that make me them an informant? I just don't understand what he is being accused of.

    April 8, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Only in the unique world of right wing political spin is being an FBI informant made out to be a bad thing.
    ----------
    Right Wing Upside Down Land:
    Cooperating with the FBI = bad
    Putin = hero
    discriminating against gays and women and most religions = freedom
    sickness and poverty = personal weakness

    April 8, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. critical thinking

    I think that Rev Al should be proud of working with the right side of the law to stop organized crime. Why is he being so shy about this?

    April 8, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. TONE

    Gurgyl

    The main problem with blacks is they take things for granted. They need to abide with law. They can not get away just because they are blacks. Work for ethics.

    With regards to the law we blacks do not get away with anything even when we are innocent so what are you trying to say i take offense to your post man.

    April 8, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. sly

    Excellant – Thank you Mr. Sharpton for helping clean up America.

    Now, if only Mr. Sharpton can somehow run that cheap Jersey mafioso Crisp Christy out of office!

    April 8, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Only in the uniqure world of right wing political spin is being an FBI informant made out to be a bad thing.
    -------–
    He became an informant because he was going to go up the river for a drug deal. Now I know you don't believe that... but you'd have to be blind not to see that.

    April 8, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Smarter than ewe

    Possibly the reason why he hasn't paid taxes in his whole life.

    April 8, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Truth

    Only in the uniqure world of right wing political spin is being an FBI informant made out to be a bad thing.
    my my had this been a high profile 'right' wing person the left would be screaming for their head

    April 8, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. TONE

    @Gurgyl

    The main problem with blacks is they take things for granted. They need to abide with law. They can not get away just because they are blacks. Work for ethics.

    I am absolutely shocked that this is coming from you, shows that you have no understanding of the African American community, come step in our shoes just for one day, and see how your perception change.

    April 8, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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