The New York Daily News called him a “mob snitch” and New York Post labelled him “Rev Rat.” Tuesday morning, Al Sharpton attempted to set the record straight regarding a report that names him as a former FBI informant.
“I was not and am not a rat, because I wasn’t with the rats,” Sharpton told reporters outside the Harlem headquarters of his group, the National Action Network. “I am a cat. I chase rats.”
Website The Smoking Gun published documents Monday that it claims contain information gathered by informants in an FBI sting into New York’s Genovese crime family. Although, the documents do not name Sharpton as an informant, the site’s report does.
During his press conference, Sharpton did not say directly whether he was or not an informant in the cases detailed in the report. He did say, however, that three decades ago he cooperated with authorities, recording threats made against him in conversations with suspected mobsters. Sharpton said he recorded those conversations over a two-year period.
Watch video from Sharpton’s press conference.
“In this situation, I did what was right,” he said. “And I did what I tell kids everyday all over this country that they should do. And that is deal with getting guns and crime out of their community and cooperate with the law.”
Sharpton calls the reports old news and reminded reporters that, in fact, he detailed the threats and his cooperation with officials in his 1996 book, “Go and Tell Pharaoh.”
Coincidentally, The Smoking Gun’s report comes just days before Sharpton’s National Action Network is to hold its annual convention with speakers including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Barack Obama slated.
“We’re used to the attacks,” Sharpton said. “The only thing I was embarrassed by is those old fat pictures. Could y’all use tomorrow the new [ones]? Because a lot of my younger members don’t know how fat I was.”