Reverend Al Sharpton is downplaying claims that he served as an informant for the FBI. 

The claims originally surfaced via The Smoking Gun, which stated that Sharpton worked as a mob informant for the FBI in the 1980s. From USA Today:

The website, in a voluminous story published Monday, said eight federal judges signed wiretap directives based at least in part on information provided by the civil rights leader and MSNBC talk show host. One Genovese crime family member admitted speaking openly to Sharpton about extortion, death threats and other crimes while Sharpton’s FBI-provided briefcase secretly recorded the conversation, the story says.

Read more at USA Today

According to the website, Sharpton was known as “confidential informant number 7” and claims the information is based on hundreds of FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records and extensive interviews with six members of the FBI/NYPD’s “Genovese squad.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Sharpton denied the allegations that he was a “rat”, saying that he was asked to cooperate with authorities to stop those who conducted illegal acts.

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