Samaritan or Snitch? Sharpton Denies Being “Informant” And Being Flipped By FBI After Drug Sting

250px-al_sharpton_by_david_shankbone136px-US-FBI-ShadedSealMSNBC host Al Sharpton has long been controversial from his involvement in the Tawana Brawley scandal to questions raised about his pressing companies to give “love offerings” and associations to his legal problems. Nevertheless, his position at MSNBC is viewed as secure while President Obama continues to honor him at official White House meetings and public events, including an event three days ago. This teflon reputation with liberals appears to be holding even after news reports surfaced that Sharpton was an FBI snitch and an associate accused him of seeking to cash in on the drug trade before he became a national figure. Sharpton has been somewhat guarded in answering detailed questions about the stories about his wearing a wire in meetings with the mob, but recently confirmed that he “cooperated” with the FBI. He proved testy with 60 Minutes in refusing to acknowledge that he was an informant. According to reports, the FBI designated Sharpton as “Confidential Informant No. 7” and used him with a bugged briefcase to incriminate mob figures in discussions of criminal enterprises. Sharpton insisted “I’m not a rat, I’m a cat.” He certainly has nine lives given the range of his past scandals. The mayor of New York and other Democratic leaders lined up to praise Sharpton in the aftermath of the story.

The site Smoking Gun broke the story and says that Sharpton denied key facts of their story, including that he was “flipped” after being caught in criminal conduct. He was allegedly used as an informant against the notorious Genovese crime family.

260px-Al_Sharpton,_1989_Protest_March,_Brooklyn_NYOthers who knew Sharpton have come forward with conflicting accounts. One is Robert Curington, 72, who said that he worked for Al Sharpton’s nonprofit organization in the 1980s and that Sharpton wanted to get some of the drug money flowing through black neighborhoods. He said that Sharpton walked into an FBI trap and was flipped. His account includes a detailed account of a meeting with a South American drug lord and at least two follow up meetings. One such meeting involved an effort to incriminate boxing figure Don King in 1983, but King was suspicious. Curington said that Sharpton was less cautious and fell for the sting – leading to his work as an informant. Sharpton has not threatened defamation over the comments which clearly involve a per se category of slander (criminal activity) if untrue. Notably, Curington does not appear to have been present at some of the meetings that he describes in the accounts.

WernerfoersterAssatamugshotAnother former associate, photographer Ahmed Obafemi, has come forward to recall Sharpton and his now infamous bugged briefcase. Obafemi recalls suspicions that Sharpton was trying to set up Joanne Chesimard, who was a fugitive after killing of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster. Obafemi gives details like an offer to pay her $50,000 that he had from supporters if he was given her whereabouts. Sharpton denies any memory of the meetings. That is quite a discrepancy. One would think that Sharpton would be threatening a defamation lawsuit after being accused in such an effort. It would raise an interesting question of whether setting up a fugitive would be defamatory as a black community organizer. Sharpton has long denied allegations that he was trying to set up Obafemi but the recent disclosures have rekindled those allegations. Ironically, the more obvious defamation action would be based on the suggestion that Sharpton was trying to get money to a fugitive cop killer. Either way, these meetings are not something one would likely forget since there were more than one, a large amount of money involved, and the subject was one of the most sought fugitive of the day. It would also just happen to be a criminal act. Sharpton is accused by this man of an act that would make him an accesory after the fact and violate a host of other provisions.

What is fascinating is the continued immunity enjoyed by Sharpton after the ruling against him in the Brawley scandal, criminal investigations, and repeated questions raised over ethics. Even disclosure that he was an informant does not appear to have materially affected his political standing or his position with MSNBC. The latter is particularly interesting given the removal of Keith Olbermann for a couple of small political contributions. Sharpton regularly appears at political events and has this other baggage to boot. Yet, he has been able to largely avoid any detailed discussions while continuing as a host.

Obviously, the impetus for Sharpton becoming an informant is known only to him and the FBI. Usually, the use of a C.I. or snitch is based on the FBI holding something over the individual. That is viewed as making them more cooperative and reliable. It is extremely rare to see a voluntary C.I., particularly by someone who at the time was known as a community organizer at odds with law enforcement. Indeed, in my work as a criminal defense counsel, I have never seen a C.I. in an operation like this that was not based on a prior threat or need for a deal. That is not to say that it could not be a purely voluntary effort as Sharpton has suggested. However, if these allegations are true, Sharpton has compounded the scandal with a false account.

There are a couple of ways to resolve these conflicting accounts. One obvious way would be for MSNBC to get Sharpton to ask the FBI for the release of the full record and to waive any confidentiality. After all, Sharpton used MSNBC to insist that what he did was purely to help his community. He says that he was threatened by people in the mob and that he did the “right thing” by going to the FBI. If so, he is being unfairly maligned and MSNBC should ask for a public letter to the FBI seeking the full files. After all, this investigative record is decades old and the law enforcement value has long passed in keeping it locked away (when the informant himself is asking for disclosure). That would allow total transparency. Since he is claiming to have done this as a purely voluntary act to protect his neighborhood, such disclosure will only support him and counter his critics. Indeed, he would have a basis for a defamation lawsuit. As a political and media figure, such transparency would seem inherent to his position. Indeed, as a media figure, the concern is not just whether Sharpton committed criminal act or lied but whether the FBI had something on Sharpton that would impact his independence as a host. If the accounts are correct, there is material in FBI files that would prove highly embarrassing to Sharpton, if not ruinous.

That effort of transparency was sought a decade or so ago in another allegation that Sharpton offered to be a snitch on another black leader. The New York Times reported that evidence had surfaced that Sharpton was an informant which Sharpton declared was “ludicrous.” Andrew J. Maloney, the former United States attorney in Brooklyn, said that Sharpton was facing state charges of tax evasion and came to offer to provide certain information against an individual. Sharpton again said that he was merely trying to serve his community to help curb drug trafficking. However, unnamed prosecutors said that he was trying to sell out an unidentified black leader. Sharpton was pressured to release Maloney of any further obligation to withhold the details. He agreed but the New York Times said “[t]hen he sent a note voiding his authorization.”

It seems to me that the burden is on MSNBC and NBC establish the full record in such a case. As for Sharpton, he either has promising defamation actions . . . or a lot of explaining to do.

What do you think?

63 thoughts on “Samaritan or Snitch? Sharpton Denies Being “Informant” And Being Flipped By FBI After Drug Sting”

  1. Paul Schulte

    Dredd – what does that have to do with Al Sharpton and his being a government snitch?
    =================
    Racial profiling animated by the cultural amygdala, a subconscious dynamic.

    Snitch is a contemptuous mob word.

    The term an unbiased LEO uses is “informant.”

    Like in the “White Collar” series where a thief became an informant.

    Or like Snowden informing on the military mob.

    The mob should be taken down, and Rev. Al should be praised for his part in it.

    1. Dredd – snitch is not a racist word. I remember being told, as a child, “Nobody likes a snitch.” Rev. Al has always been sketchy and he did not do any of this for the goodness of the country, he did it to save his own ass.
      Don King did forgive Rev. Al for snitching on him, though. That happened yesterday.

  2. The actual scientific demonstration of one actually avoidable mistake, or one actually avoidable accident, or one actually avoidable event of any other kind, will be the absolute and eternal scientific refutation of my work in bioengineering, which work demonstrates how and why actually avoidable events of all possible kinds are absolute existential eternal impossibilities.

    The actual making of the quantum-mechanical biology measurement of the actual non-avoidable nature of all events of all kinds whatsoever of all events which actually happen was not possible until sufficient understanding of the relationship of the meaning of quantum mechanics to the meaning of human decision making had been actually accomplished.

    It has taken me decades of work at graduate-school and beyond levels of science to learn how to make the measurement of human error avoidance probability with genuine scientific rigor.

    While In grade school, I was told that I was already working at, and beyond, what was considered to be graduate school level. I am labeled as autistic by my primary care physician, and have been labeled as being a form of autistic savant by doctoral level folks who work with those of the autism spectrum. A quantative elecroencephalogram (QEEG) done in 1990 is consistent with my having and using long-term working memory, If it is actually true that I fit in the category of autistic savant and if it is actually true that I use long-term working memory (which allows me to hold in conscious awareness hundreds to thousands of life events so as to be able to recognize the patterns aspects of thousands of my life events form, then it may be useful to regard me as plausibly being of the prodigious autistic savant variety of the members of the human species.

    I am strongly inclined to hold the view that no ordinary person who is not also some form of prodigious autistic savant and who also was willing and able to put more than 70 years of unrelenting effort into unriddling the core nature of apparent human destructiveness could ever have done the bioengineering work that I have demonstrably accomplished.

    I find that I am not “better” than is anyone else, and I find that I am not actually “more intelligent” that is anyone else, and I find that I am not actually “more truthful” than is anyone else. What I do find is that the so-called “Pauli exclusion principle,” which states that, in a given object, every quantum state is unique, is applicable to the entire universal universe of all possible and impossible universes, such that no two “things” can ever actually be the same; because, if two “things” are actually the same, there is actually only one of them.

    If no two things can ever actually be the same, that scientific fact totally undermines the rule of law as an adversarial process in which a offense is a function of a verbal description of events wherein different events are mistakenly assigned the same word-sequence verbal description

    Why do people violate the rule of law? People simply do not violate the rule of law. When a violation of, or offense against, the rule of law seems as though to have happened, it is the errors inherent in the authoritarianism of the rule of law which actually violate people.

    Herewith, under penalty of law for deception if, and only if, this actually be of deception, I state without equivocation of any kind, that I find that the adversarial system of law and jurisprudence is inextricably, intransigently, and inescapably disastrously child-abusive.

    I have structured my research field work and writing in the form of a genuinely pure dichotomy. Either one or more events which actually happened can actually be scientifically demonstrated to have actually been avoidable, or no events which actually happened can actually be scientifically demonstrated to have been actually avoidable.

    To scientifically demonstrate that an actual event was actually avoidable, the event has to actually have actually been avoided, such that it did not happen when it allegedly did happen.

    Impossibilium nulla obligatio est? (Black’s Law Dictionary, Ninth Edition, page 1835). My expanded transliteration of that Latin legal maxim is, “As the impossible is that which does not happen, there can be no valid obligation for any person to achieve what is impossible.”

    To the extent to which the Anglo-American Adversarial System of Law and Jurisprudence effectively mandates that people achieve what is actually impossible, the validity of the Anglo-American Adversarial System of Law and Jurisprudence is now and henceforth scientifically invalidated.

  3. Dredd – what does that have to do with Al Sharpton and his being a government snitch?

  4. I welcome learning that I held a mistaken thought. My prior comment having been posted, I offer a form of postscript, on the chance it will also be posted.

    My dad, Rev. Emerson Harris, was a member of the ordained clergy,as was his dad (Rev. Harry Harris), as am I. My dad did his ministerial studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary. His dad did his ministerial studies at the Moody Bible Institute. My brother, J. Don Harris, Ph.D. was a Chicago Theological Seminary student for three years, the last of which was his internship year. Being an unrecognized member of the then-unrecognized Asperger’s Syndrome form of humanity, my brother was giving a failing grade for his internship and was expelled from the Chicago Theological Seminary.

    I went to a prospective students’ day event at the Chicago Theological Seminary in the early 1990s, to learn whether I had any chance of doing as my dad did, successfully graduating from that school with a B.Min. degree. Alas, I rapidly found that I, being more of what then was deemed classical autism than of Asperger’s Syndrome, recognized that I had a likely chance of graduating from Chicago Theological Seminary of identically zero.

    So, seeking to continue the work my granddad and dad did, at the intersection of science and religion, I became ordained through World Christianship Ministries, doing so because I found that I met their expectations for becoming ordained and because I have recognized a call to ordained, non-sectarian ministry since before I learned to talk in English sentences of two or more words.

    As a member of the ordained clergy, I am a mandatory child abuse reporter in Wisconsin.

    Herewith, I report my finding, that of a licensed Wisconsin Professional Engineer and a member of the ordained clergy, to the effect that the social norms which comprise the essence of the typically traditional socialization-mandated transition from infancy to childhood, which transition typically happens at about the age of 18 months after being born, is of catastrophic, biologically damaging, neurologically devastating child abuse, and I herewith report my finding that child sexual abuse by people, including parents, clergy, school teachers, judges, and everyone else who has ever engaged in sexual abuse of any child are acting out, however indirectly displaced, their devastating childhood abuse experiences.

    Authoritarianism, in every form, is of some variation on the theme of reaction formation to abuse inflicted upon those people whose childhood experiences leave them bereft of any pragmatic alternative to recapitulating their indoctrination into authoritarianism when they were little children.

    I find, furthermore, that I am, by dint of biology, inescapably in absolute and irredeemable criminal contempt of court as defined in Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 785.

    Please observe, using due diligence, that my license as a Wisconsin Professional Engineer mandates that I avoid using deception in the practice of professional engineering. This writing is an exercise of my practice of professional engineering. Therefore, if anything I have here written is of my being deceptive, I have forfeited my right to be licensed as a Wisconsin Professional Engineer.

    Anyone who deems what i have here written and posted to the Turley Blog to be of deception on my part is, for the sake of public safety, ethically and morally required to report my violation of the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers to the Board of Engineers Professional Responsibility of the Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers, so that, if it is found that I have been deceptive, my license as a Wisconsin Professional Engineer can be properly rescinded and I can be subjected to prosecution to the full extent provided by law.

  5. What do I think?

    What I think is trivial in contrast with what I observe scientifically, using pure-dichotomy null-hypothesis/alternate-hypothesis testing of dominant aspects of the purported social construction of imagined reality.

    I observe, as a theoretical biologist and as an applied biologist (aka, bioengineer) that no event which ever actually happened could have actually happened other than as it happened, a scientific fact more than amply demonstrated in my bioengineering dissertation, which has previously been mentioned on the Turley Blog,and for which no hint of a scientific refutation or rebuttal has ever come to my attention in spite of repeated requests from me for its scientific rebuttal.

    I think that people who are labeled “normal” in terms of being outside the realm of unbroken anomie are people who have experienced shattering moral injury which has rendered them functionally nearly perfectly incapable of the rigorous honesty of a human neonate.

    I find that the model of human evil, as told in Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil, Princeton University Press, 2007, is a superbly evil treatise on an immensely evil theory of evil.

    I find that the late psychologist, Alice Miller, in, for example, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child, Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum, tr., New American Library, 1984, understood a critical aspect of human socialization-induced trauma-grounded moral injury in stating, with what I find to be as-though flawless accuracy, “The child is always innocent.”

    I find that Alice Miller’s noting that “The child is always innocent,” is perfectly and absolutely true for children of any and every age, and is perfectly and absolutely true for children of any and every possible kind.

    I find it scientifically useful to regard every living member of the species some humans have labeled (mislabeled?) “homo sapiens sapiens” as a child of the processes and mechanisms of the creativity of evolution and the evolution of creativity that makes any and every aspect of observable existence observable.

    I find that The Authoritarian Personality, T. W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Danel J. Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford, published by the American Jewish Committee in 1950 contains a devastating description of the horror to which any actually-adversarial model of the social construction of reality (including law as an adversarial process) inescapably generates.

    I find that life is accurately modeled socially only as a collaborative existential phenomenon and that any model which departs or differs from pure, unadulterated collaboration is deceptive, dishonest, false, and relentlessly destructive.

    Therefore, the only aspect of existence with respect of which I could ever find it truthfully guilty is the dastardly deceptive and perfectly dishonest, neurologically shattering, notion that guilt, save as an absolutely evil delusion of mistaken self-reference, or worse, can ever exist.

    Except as an insanely psychotic, atrociously addictive, dastardly delusion, actual guilt is an absolute existential impossibility. That is what I think. That is what I know. That is what I invariably observe, using the most effective, efficient, and economical tools of science yet known to me and understood by me.

    I also think that the chance of this getting posted on the Turley Blog is slight at best, and I herewith test that thought, hoping that it is mistaken.

  6. There are a number of cultures in America.

    Each with a somewhat different cultural amygdala.

    The one circuit still in each cultural amygdala is racism.

    Our culture is racist, with variation in degree only.

    Thankfully, the degree of racism has been in general proceeding in a downward direction, that is, the average quantity of racism overall is diminishing.

    By now, for instance, only 27% of our presidents have owned slaves.

    It used to be higher.

    If you or I think there is no racism in us we are in denial.

    If you demand to be considered exceptional and above any racism whatsoever, you will stagnate at the level of racism you currently harbor.

  7. I’ve pondered over all the comments. And Rod Serling has the answer.

    You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!

    You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone.

  8. Dredd, The Smoking Gun broke this story w/ court and FBI FOI records. The FBI is not trustworthy, but Super Fly Al is a known liar. And, if calling a guy who dresses, acts, and looks like a pimp is “dorky,” well then dorky I am. But, I have NEVER used a pocket protector.

    1. Dredd – am not a fan of the FBI, I am a child of the ’60s for goodness sake. However, after Tawana Brawley, there is no way I could believe Al Sharpton. Plus, Smoking Gun has a great track record of backing their stuff up.

  9. Anonymously Yours

    Well…. What do you expect…. They have no more use for him…. Ask whitey bulger,,,,,
    =======================
    Indeed.

    I would believe Sharpton over the FBI any day of the week.

    Our astute fellows from (R-Bullshitistan) choose to believe the FBI based on race.

    Regularly.

  10. Nick Spinelli

    seamus, You forget the Rev. Al Sharpton has a strong moral compass. The best part of this scandal is all the old photos when Al looked like a Super Fly pimp have come out. Now he looks like an anorexic funeral director.
    =====================
    Very dorky Nick.

  11. Rcampbell:

    The huge distinction is between “suspected” (which means doubt) and “convicted” by a jury in a confrontational process where the accused can confront his accusers or any evidence used against him or her. This process alone uncovers exculpatory evidence (contradictory evidence) that corrupt prosecutors withhold from judges and juries.

    Many times the FBI, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, etc. intentionally omit the legal designation “suspected” misleading the public perception.

    It’s a very powerful slight of hand and part of the reason so many innocent Americans get destroyed by some (not all) corrupt police and prosecutors.

    Bush omitted “suspected” when talking about terror suspects. For example today we know roughly 86% of Guantanamo inmates were never terrorists at all and posed no harm to the United States although Americans were misled into beleiving they were guilty.

    Reality is usually not black & white like the fictional TV cop shows.

  12. Anonymous

    Where would we both without Annie introducing a completely unrelated topic into a thread that points out that the left can be as corrupt/hypocritical as the right?
    ===============
    Where would we be without you?

    Better off.

  13. seamus, You forget the Rev. Al Sharpton has a strong moral compass. The best part of this scandal is all the old photos when Al looked like a Super Fly pimp have come out. Now he looks like an anorexic funeral director.

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