Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said a report indicating that he was a paid FBI informant in the 1980s is old news, but acknowledged he worked with the FBI while he was in the music business to protect himself from the mob.
"I was not, and am not a rat," Sharpton said Tuesday. "I'm a cat, I chase rats, and whether it's a rat in racial profiling or police brutality, or mobsters exploiting black artists, don't get it confused." He calls critics of his choice to work with law enforcement hypocrites.
His comments came in response to an article by Bill Pastone of The Smoking Gun that claims Sharpton provided information that helped convict several high-profile mobsters. Sharpton denied this.
"If I had talked about a corrupt assemblyman in East Harlem that's good government, but if I'm talking about mobsters I'm 'Reverend Rat'? Give me a break," he said.
Sharpton's lawyers are looking at the documents posted by The Smoking Gun.