- New reports contradict Rev. Al Sharpton’s claims that he went to the FBI and started working as an informant after a mobster threatened him
- He said that he began giving the federal agents recordings of meetings with gangsters in 1984 but new reports prove it started in 1983
- Sharpton was allegedly caught on video meeting with an undercover agent who claimed to be a South American drug lord looking to launder money
- Sharpton was recorded suggesting that he use boxing matches as fronts for the funds
- Also talked about the sale of ‘pure coke’
By Meghan Keneally and Lydia Warren and Associated Press
Published: 11:35 EST, 10 April 2014 | Updated: 13:27 EST, 10 April 2014
New reports have revealed that Al Sharpton agreed to become an informant for the FBI after they confronted him with videos of him meeting with an undercover agent who he believed was going to sell him drugs.
These new claims contradict the story that Sharpton told when his informant status was made public earlier this week.
Sharpton said that he was threatened by mobsters who felt that he was competing for their handle on the music industry, but new documents made public by The Smoking Gun show that the FBI had tapes of Sharpton trying to buy cocaine from an undercover agent.
In 1983, Sharpton met an agent who was posing as a former South American drug lord and was trying to arrange a way for the man to launder money through boxing promotions that the Reverend could arrange.
At the second of these two meetings with the undercover agent, Sharpton was confronted with the tape of his earlier meeting when he was talking about buying ‘pure coke’ from the ‘druglord’.
The Smoking Gun claims that it was at that point when Sharpton ‘flipped’ and agreed to start working as a paid informant for the FBI.
In his assertions since the story broke, Sharpton said that he started working for the FBI in 1984 but a document from that year published today by The Smoking Gun shows that the FBI had been working with him for a year at that point.
The report tells how CI-7, which was Sharpton’s code name, ‘has been providing information to the FBI for a period in excess of one year’.
‘This information has never been found to be false or inaccurate. Information furnished by CI-7 has been corroborated by independent investigations and by informants,’ the report reads.
On tape: Footage shows Al Sharpton (in the cowboy hat) unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent in 1983
Incriminating: New reports suggest that these taped undercover videos were used to get Sharpton to agree to work as a paid informant for the FBI
The arrangement led to Sharpton recording numerous conversations with mob bosses like Vincent ‘Chin’ Gigante, but, Sharpton had a different explanation for how that arrangement was made when he held a press conference Tuesday.
‘Rats are usually people that were with other rats,’ he said in the animated press briefing. ‘I was not and am not a rat, because I wasn’t with the rats. I’m a cat. I chase rats.’
Sharpton said he went to the FBI after he was threatened by mobsters working in the music business.
‘In my own mind I was not an informant,’ Sharpton said. ‘I was cooperating with an investigation.’
‘It is interesting to me, as we deal with the whole criminalization of many in our community, that the premise of a lot of this media is that I should have been with the mob rather than with the government,’ he said in response to the media reports.
Sharpton said that he did indeed use a recording device in a briefcase but defended his actions.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio stood by the famed activist at the kick-off of Sharpton’s annual National Action Network conference Wednesday.
‘I just want everyone to know I am proud to stand with Reverend Sharpton,’ de Blasio at an event on Wednesday.
At the time: A heavier Sharpton (in blue track suit, center) is pictured during a march in 1998. Years earlier he had began informing against mob bosses, reports said
Caught: Vincent ‘Chin’ Gigante (C) was a Genovese crime family boss who pretended to be mentally ill to escape arrest – but Sharpton helped foil his plot when he taped other mob figures discussing the ruse
The report’s timing became a distraction for Sharpton a day before he was to host President Barack Obama as the keynote speaker at the annual convention his civil rights group, the National Action Network.
The MSNBC host complained that he was unfairly portrayed as a turncoat mob associate instead of a victim.
Sharpton said that he went to federal authorities after low-level mobsters warned him and others they would be harmed if they continued to compete for a stake in the music business — a claim he recounted in his 1996 book, ‘Go and Tell Pharaoh.’
‘We were threatened, and that’s not a new story,’ Sharpton said. ‘It’s in my book.’
Sharpton claimed that after the FBI targeted him in a failed sting, he ‘fought back and said, ‘I’m being threatened. These are the kinds of guys you should be going after.”
For about two years, the FBI enlisted Sharpton to record conversations with mob figures using a bug hidden in a briefcase, he said.
His role, he said, was to try to get them to repeat the threats and also talk about any other crimes.
Support: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that he was proud to stand with Sharpton at his annual civil rights conference for the National Action Network on Wednedsay
He added: ‘I made the right decision. … The only thing I’m embarrassed by are those old fat pictures.’
The Smoking Gun report was based on court documents and FBI memos released in response to Freedom of Information requests. They included a draft affidavit by an FBI agent investigating allegations that the Genovese crime family had a lucrative ‘stranglehold’ on music industry executive Morris Levy.
The FBI ‘has developed a relationship with a confidential informant, hereafter referred to as ‘CI-7,” who agreed to record conversations with a mobster with inside knowledge of the Levy shakedown, the affidavit says. In one conversation in 1984, it says the mobster told CI-7 that Levy ‘has tried to end his relationship with the Genovese family 10 to 15 times but that he has ‘only has one way out,’ at which point (he) gestured like someone pointing a gun and pulling the trigger.’
Big names: Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke at the convention and President Obama is slated to attend tomorrow
The information from Sharpton helped investigators persuade judges to approve wiretaps on phones at the Manhattan home of Genovese boss Vincent ‘The Chin’ Gigante and to bug a social club where the Gigante hung out, the report said.
Gigante, who known for faking mental illness by shuffling through his Greenwich Village neighborhood in bathrobe and slippers, was convicted in 1997 of racketeering and murder conspiracy. He died in prison at 77 in 2005.
Asked about the report after an unrelated City Hall press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it wouldn’t change his ‘positive view’ of Sharpton.
‘What’s obvious from what he said this very morning is that he was asked by the FBI to support their efforts and he agreed to help, and that’s exactly what a citizen should do,’ the mayor said.
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