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Reverend Al Sharpton, aka "The Civil Rights Kid" (humor alert), denies The Smoking Gun allegation that he was an an informant for the FBI in its effort to bring down the Mafia in, Al Sharpton: I'm No Snitch,saying, “If I brought down the Mob, I want my ticker tape parade.”


The civil rights activist and MSNBC host was referring, facetiously, to TheSmokingGun.com’s meticulously detailed, epic account, rife with court documents and law enforcement sourcing, of Sharpton’s apparent four-year career in the 1980s as one of the FBI’s more valuable mafia informants--a narrative that can best be described as The Sopranos meets American Hustle.

It’s a colorful chronicle that features con men and homicidal hoodlums with nicknames—as the Smoking Gun points out—such as “Benny Eggs,” “Chin,” “Fritzy,” “Corky,” and “Baldy Dom.” Also in the mix are famous performers like James Brown, the young Sharpton’s mentor and benefactor; Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., and rascally boxing promoter Don King, another associate of the fledgling Baptist minister.

The latest inconvenient revelation is another chapter of Sharpton’s checkered past coming back to haunt him—or maybe just throwing into sharp relief his amazing rise from rabble-rousing street preacher to member of the Democratic Party establishment as well as anchor of his own weeknight MSNBC program, PoliticsNation. MSNBC had no response to the Smoking Gun’s story. Yet a screaming headline on the Drudge Report—SHARPTON WAS FBI MOB RAT—was hardly an auspicious way to begin a momentous week.

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In an interview with The Daily Beast, Sharpton called the Smoking Gun’s story--versions of which have been circulating in the media for the past 26 years--“embellished,” “a stretch,” and “crazy.” He denied that he ever knowingly snitched on wiseguys for the FBI.


In this fairly long interview with the Daily Beast, Sharpton denies the Smoking Gun's story calling them "embellished," and a "strech," as if to leave open he possibility there may be some basic truths there that have been "streched" or "embellished," as opposed to "totally fabricated."

This story doesn't say what Sharpton's street name was, but this "Civil Right's Kid" sounds good to me. This is a long a "colorful article" with  too many Soprano-like anecdotes in it for me to try to summarize.

Sharpton isn't being accused of any crimes here, in fact, if he wore a wire to help police bring down the Genevese crime family some folks might like him more, so his denials must be given some extra credence.

Still, next time any of us might run into him, we will be trying really hard not to say, "Hey there, Kid, dose are some nice civil rights, ya got dare, what a shame if somedin was to happen to them."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:41:42 AM PDT

  •  Sure. It's perfectly plausible that Rev. Al (10+ / 0-)

    would have  a lot of inside information on the Mafia... why not?

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:48:10 AM PDT

  •  So much for Al's crossover appeal. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:38:15 AM PDT

  •  in the context of the Civil Rights Movement (5+ / 0-)

    there's no greater slur than being called an FBI informant.

    this, if true, would BY ITSELF erase all the good feelings Sharpton has managed to procure from the Black Community in recent years.

    do I think that, as a member of James Brown's retinue, Sharpton came in contact with some sleazy mob types?  hell yeah.  do I believe the FBI had folks like Sharpton under surveillance?  hell yeah.

    but I'd have to see proof of his being an FBI rat.  I'd sooner believe it of Jesse Jackson, truth be told.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:52:02 AM PDT

    •  This might explain part of the article I did not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anna shane

      understand - the implication that the FBI was trying to set Reverend Sharpton up" with this plot to get him to wear a wire.

       

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:21:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Apparently, though (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Satya1, anna shane, mallyroyal, HoundDog

      Sharpton providing the FBI with information had little or nothing to do with civil rights and everything to do with bringing down the Genovese crime family.

      Sharpton allegedly became an FBI informant after he was caught on tape with a drug kingpin discussing cocaine deals. The feds reportedly threatened him with charges — although it’s unlikely any case would have held up — and successfully flipped him to snitch on Mafia acquaintances.
      They saw Sharpton as an asset because he had “established relationships with (boxing) promoter Don King, various elected officials and several powerful New York hoodlums involved in concert promotion, record distribution and talent management,” The Smoking Gun said
      .

      So not discounting what you say here, but context is EVERYTHING in this case.

      •  of course (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        he would not betray his own community, but he had dicey friends, front seats at Madison Square Garden, he was great at getting in the papers.  

      •  I didn't miss the context. I don't think it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Chitown Kev

        matters enough.  the community (those of us who even care... remember there's a segment that will never view him positively) hears "FBI informant" and it's all over for dude lol.

        plus I don't know many folks who are gonna be like "oh you just want me to rat on the MOB?  thats a relief."

        This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

        by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I know that (0+ / 0-)

          I think the idea that he was taking down a certain crime family might help in some other sectors of the community but yes, there are those that don't give a rat's ass...they will hate Sharpton for one reason or another...yes, even in the black community, folks.

  •  What struck me about the Smoking Gun (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, anna shane, steve2012, HoundDog

    piece was how at the beginning the author works so hard to establish an equivalence link between "FBI snitch" and "Obama friend".  It seems to me to be a ham fisted exercise in demeaning Sharpton and Obama at the same time.  If the author wanted to point to Sharpton's rise to say, "look how far he's come" that would be  honest, but the gratuitous repetition of his white house connections and the tone go overboard.  There are over 20+ years since the alleged informing.  If any of that is included in the article, it is very well buried later.

    I couldn't bring myself to waste my time reading the whole thing.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:40:05 AM PDT

    •  he used to be more famous (0+ / 0-)

      he's put those great heady days of speculation and wild outspokenness behind him.  

      He was one of the biggest characters, great at calling attention, and he was usually on the right side. Tawana Brawley probably wasn't the smartest call, but he could be counted on to stick his nose in and he neck out, defending someone, and getting publicity for the cause.  He joined the cause in cases of racial injustice that grabbed everyone's attention.  He was like a one man ACLU in defense of ordinary African Americans.

      •  I happen to like the guy for some of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anna shane

        good he has done.  The Tawana Brawley was a big mess that I just simply avoided.  Once I heard about the violence her own parents inflicted on her, all I could think of was the tragedy for that girl.

        The Smoking Gun article does its part to make an informant sounds more dishonorable than the mob members.  Scan through that article and look at the captions under the photos.  Under the mob picture, it's stuff like "mob boss", "mob soldier", fairly complimentary considering what these guys were doing.  There was nothing describing what crimes they committed or were being investigated for.    Notice the elaborate caption under Rodney Dangerfield's photo.  Look at the last few sentences.  It's a hit piece through and through with hyped up language designed to make Sharpton look so slimy that he's worse than the mob.

        For those who want to hold onto the Tawana Brawley event as THE EVENT that tarnishes his character for all time, I have just one question:

        Chappaquiddick?

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:28:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he got good coverage in today's times (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Satya1

          I have always been his fan, he's in your face, getting publicity for people who need help, calling attention. He's now sweet and square, he used to be more flamboyant.  If you want to focus attention, you have to be interesting, and he was very interesting.  He got involved right away, which is the only time you can. If he was wrong about Tawana and I am not convinced that he was, so what, not like it wasn't plausible.

    •  I didn't see that article Satya1, this was the (0+ / 0-)

      first I heard of it.

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:15:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey Hounddog (0+ / 0-)

        I'm confused.  Are you saying you didn't read any of the article referred to (nested 2 links deep) in your first sentence?

        Reverend Al Sharpton, aka "The Civil Rights Kid" (humor alert), denies The Smoking Gun allegation that he was an an informant for the FBI in its effort to bring down the Mafia in, Al Sharpton: I'm No Snitch,saying, “If I brought down the Mob, I want my ticker tape parade.”
        If you go to the "Al Sharpton: I'm No Snitch" article, there is link "epic account" in the beginning that takes us to the piece it is reacting to:

        http://www.thesmokinggun.com/...

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:04:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Al Sharpton is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoeLibertarian

    was and always will be an opportunistic asswipe.  The details are irrelevant.

    There was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness, because it sprang not from weakness, but from a higher clarity.

    by Sally Foster on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:55:39 AM PDT

    •  I'll have to agree... (0+ / 0-)

      that he certainly was opportunistic. That sometimes did lead to good things for the civil rights movement, but there was an awful lot of shady stuff in there, too.

      •  He won points from me... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrganicChemist, Vetwife

        ...early on, when it sometimes seemed like he was the only Democrat in NYC that would stand up to Rudolph Giuliani.  

        •  Tawana Bradley. (0+ / 0-)

          I'll say no more.

          There was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness, because it sprang not from weakness, but from a higher clarity.

          by Sally Foster on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:33:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He should have admitted... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that Brawley was almost certainly lying. His sin, in my eyes, was not in championing her when she first came forth, but in not reassessing the case when more facts came in.
            When right-wingers bring up Tawana Brawley, I remind them that what they're talking about is someone who believed the story of a woman claiming to have been abused by a powerful person, and who stood by her even when her story was discredited.  In other words, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and ever other right-winger who, to this day, still believe Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick.

            •  Sharpton never stopped. (0+ / 0-)

              People's lives were ruined and he refused to appear for the civil suit.  He publicized names and destroyed careers.

              You see it as standing up for someone; I see it as his opportunity to destroy people, which he did with relish.

              Has he ever apologized?  Don't think so.

              I hate his smarmy preacher act and his awful voice and he seems stupid to me.  YMMV.  Just the way that I feel.

              I remembered the right name too late.  Thanks for correcting.

              There was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness, because it sprang not from weakness, but from a higher clarity.

              by Sally Foster on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:18:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  frank bruni (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    writes in today's NYT that Princeton students don't have cultural  references from any time before their own existence.

    The Reverend Sharpton has been around a long time, he used to be a very controversial guy and he's only 60.  He and Don King went way back.  He now seems like some square talking head guy, the only remaining signs of his early flamboyance and edge living are his clothes.

    Does he ever wear the same suit twice? I hope he doesn't have to pay for them, that designers get him to wear their samples.  

  •  Al would probably be dead, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    I would think, "rubbed out" by the Mafia Hit men, if this accusation has been known for decades.

    Are people actually siding with the Mob as if getting rid of killers, drug trade, prostitution, and all kinds of destructive crime, is somehow shameful?This should make Al a crime fighting hero rather than a "Rat" as stated here.

    To imply that people in the Civil Rights Movement would somehow turn on Al Sharpton for  getting rid of the very players which destroy the Black Community is laughable logic, or wishful thinking.

    Most decent law loving people would be impressed that someone was willing to step up to the plate to remove crime from our cities.

     

    •  is that what you think I said? (0+ / 0-)
      To imply that people in the Civil Rights Movement would somehow turn on Al Sharpton for  getting rid of the very players which destroy the Black Community is laughable logic, or wishful thinking.
      I'm saying that ANY SORT OF "FBI INFORMANT" will be looked at with a jaundiced eye among old and new school Black Activists.

      follow me?

      if YOU think that's laughable, or "wishful thinking" you don't know any.  I actually was raised by one of the more "mainstream" thinkers in that movement, not quite so "radical" as others in that she worked within electoral politics as well as without, and I KNOW she would have spit even thinking about informants for the Feds, so I'll argue this one from a place of authority.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  oh and I'm not "siding with the mob." (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not even "siding against the FBI."  I'm telling you what would happen to Sharpton in certain circles, were this true and widely known.  it wouldn't have necessarily been someone with a vowel on the end of their surname to "rub him out."

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:04:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The aticle is a hit piece. I didn't see any (0+ / 0-)

    proof of any connections. Black man so close to the mafia he is allowed to inform on them? That's total bs.

  •  He pretty much admitted to this... (0+ / 0-)

    His comment was that this is old news. He said he covered all of this already in one of his books. Although Smoking Gun claimed he snitched because of cocaine involvement, Rev. Al claimed he wore a wire and gave information because he was being pushed around by unsavory characters because of his involvement in the record business. He claimed it wasn't snitching, but "helping". I don't really see the difference and I don't really care at this point. Everyone knows he was a "colorful" character - good sometimes and rather scummy at other times. He was just being Al.

  •  He was I presume in the company of (0+ / 0-)

    some real unsavory characters with the Don King and gambling stuff and the record industry but bringing down the mob?  Not hardly... They just rebranded...They all are lobbyists and most are politicians or wall street investors..
    They are ...." I'm just a businessman these days".

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:03:42 PM PDT

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