April 8th, 2014
01:27 PM ET
8 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. Masterfudge007

    Big Al is just being Big Al, he has a lot of juice in many places.

    April 8, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. MichaelF

    i don't understand.. he snitched on other criminals.. how is this a bad thing? anyone? someone?

    April 8, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    Anonymous
    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.
    ---

    Sounds like a major gathering of organized crime.... I hope the FBI/NSA/CIA is taping it all.
    ---

    nope. it's gonna be like any GOP sponsored event...no press, no dissenting opinions. just drones and their wallets

    April 8, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Mr. Wise.

    Al is Smart

    April 8, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Atom Krieg

    Apparently people cant read. Its not about him being an informant, its WHY he became an informant. Informants often help the FBI to avoid prosecution. To be fair, people on the left AND the right have a problem trusting govt agencies such as the FBI .

    April 8, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Mr. Wise.

    Reverend Al is respected in many a arena.

    April 8, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. L0$tinTran$lation

    Funny...I didn't think you could do anything for the FBI as a racist and biggot.

    April 8, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. smith

    Al Sharpton involved with drugs and the mafia. Doesn`t surprise me.

    April 8, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Joe in Kalispell

    LOL, the mob always does away with an informant.

    April 8, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Boris

    Sly:
    The guy that told our navy seals where Osama Bin Laden was hiding was a Rat? So you'd rather see OBL alive than see someone turn him in?

    The guy who fingered the Boston Marathon bombers was also a Rat, so we should not have harmed them?

    Where do some of you crawl out of?

    These people weren't informing the authorities because they themselves were trying to get out of their own situation.

    April 8, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. larry bud

    Absolutely EVERYTHING this guy is involved with should be classified as "WRONGDOING"!

    April 8, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Me

    I don't think it is a bad thing to be an FBI informant but you are putting yourself in great danger. I do question how he knew so much about the crime families that he could be an informant, usually informants are ex-criminals that know and have tons of connection in the business. So how does he know enough information/people in the crime families to be an informant?

    April 8, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Pete/Ark

    Why is this buried on Ticker rather than being front page ????

    April 8, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Marie

    Why would you admit your a snitch publicly! WOW! And of all things be so bold as admit publicly you snitched on the MAFIA! That is like CRAZY!

    April 8, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. D Brown

    Rev sharp ton did something i wish more men would do. Trying to paint it as wrong sends a horrendous message to people who cooperate with the law

    April 8, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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