Al Sharpton’s decades of denial that he was an FBI informant before he gained national notoriety as a civil rights shakedown artist were blasted Monday in an explosive report that documents how Sharpton was originally frightened into working with federal agents because he feared prosecution in a drug case.
And he spent at least four years in the latter 1980s trolling the dark side of the sports and entertainment business for investigators, cultivating seedy ties with mobsters and pop stars alike, The Smoking Gun reported.
In a near-novella-length piece of meticulously sourced reporting, “Al Sharpton’s Secret Work As FBI Informant” chronicles Sharpton’s brush with federal agents in 1983 when he was recorded in a conversation about arranging drug deals that frightened him into cooperating further.
The report then documents Sharpton’s work with federal agents over the ensuing years – just prior to the Tawana Brawley rape hoax that Sharpton manipulated to make himself a household name – to investigate the Genovese, Gambino and Colombo crime families, other organized crime associates and the sometimes sordid worlds where big-time entertainment and big-time crime intersect.
Among the highlights of the blockbuster piece:
Sharpton was a paid informant for more than four years, and FBI agents and prosecutors went to great lengths to his identity, to protect their investigations – and his life.
Sharpton was induced into cooperation because he feared prosecution under federal conspiracy laws. Sharpton has always denied rumors he was an informant.
That organized crime figures were so confident that Sharpton was on their side that he was able to use a briefcase to record hours of conversations on a wide range of criminal affairs, “from loan sharking and extortions to death threats.”
Rumors that Sharpton was cooperating with federal law enforcement agents even while glorying in his role as a protest organizer have been around since 1988, when New York Newsday published a story about it.
The Smoking Gun report puts the rumors together – along with plenty of juicy detail.
Check it out.
And a true “hat tip” to the Smoking Gun.
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