A report by the Smoking Gun was released on Monday, and detailed the involvement of Al Sharpton as an informant for the FBI and NYPD in the 1980s.
He was responsible for gathering key pieces of information while wearing a wire in order to bust the leaders of the Genovese crime family, an organized crime group, and one of the famous Five Families.
The information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators “to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders, and more than a dozen phone lines,” according to The Smoking Gun.
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After the release of the story, Sharpton downplayed the allegations, claiming he did not know he was acting as an informant for the FBI. “I was never told I was an informant with a number,” Sharpton said at a press conference at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. “I was not and am not a rat because I wasn’t with the rats,” he said. “I’m a cat. I chase rats.”
He used the conference to clarify his involvement with the FBI, and denied claims that he’s “a rat,” according to CBS News. “Many of us are condemned for not fighting crime. And now we’re condemned for fighting crime,” Sharpton said. “I did the right thing and would do it again.”
Of course this dive back into the 1980s dug up some less than flattering photos of Rev. Sharpton, and Twitter took to creating a #SharptonMobName hashtag spurred by radio host Doc Thompson to poke fun at Rev. Sharpton’s past.
#SharptonMobName Slim Shady
— Skip LaCombe (@skiplacombe) April 9, 2014
— Shawn P (@spmcintyre) April 9, 2014
— Mike Pinto (@mkpnt) April 9, 2014