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Al Sharpton on Acting as FBI Informant to Snitch on Mob: ‘I Did What I Had to Do’

Al Sharpton is not ashamed by the recent revelation that he served as an FBI informant, snitching against the mob in the 1980’s. The one thing  the MSNBC host, civil rights activist and once-presidential hopeful does regret about that time, however, is how he looks in those vintage pics.

“The only thing I was embarrassed by is those old fat pictures,” he said during a Tuesday press conference, talking about his longer-haired, heftier days feeding information to the feds.

On Monday, Smoking Gun revealed that Sharpton was caught on tape talking with a drug kingpin about a cocaine deal. Threatened with charges, Sharpton decided to take a deal and instead work as a confidential informant for a joint NYPD-FBI task force.

The new report sheds light on just how easily the preacher fit in with the shady doings, including arranging 10 meetings with Genovese crime boss, Vincent (Chin) Gigante, whose family was brought down using information Sharpton gathered during his meet-ups.

“Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit,”the report noted. “The resulting surreptitious recordings were eventually used to help convict an assortment of Mafia members and associates.”

In the press conference at his National Action Network headquarters, Sharpton said much of what the new Smoking Gun report dredges up about his past is simply wrong.

“I did what was right,” Sharpton said, demanding he had he had gone to the police when he was threatened by the mob, not as a result of a drug bust. “I’m not a mobster. I’m a preacher.”

He added, ““I don’t know if I’m C-7 or B-19. I don’t know none of that. I know I was threatened. I did what anybody would do … other than a thug. And I cooperated,” he told the press.

At least one person from his past, a mob soldier, though, has no sympathy for the press storm and negative publicity caused by the Smoking Gun report.

“Poor Sharpton,” the former mobster joked with feigned concern, “he cleaned up his life and now you want to ruin him.”

Photo Credit: Smoking Gun

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.