New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rushed Wednesday to the defense of Rev. Al Sharpton amid recent allegations that the reverend served as an FBI mob informant in the mid-1980s.
"I just want everyone to know I am proud to stand with Rev. Sharpton," Mr. de Blasio told gatherers at Mr. Sharpton's annual civil rights conference. "Because to borrow a phrase from our youth, Reverend, 'you're the real thing.'
"I am Rev. Sharpton's fan, I must admit," he said. "But there may be an even greater fan of Rev. Sharpton in my household: the first lady of our city, Chirlane McCray. And we both value his advice and his guidance."
The new Democratic mayor heaped praise on Mr. Sharpton, crediting him with leading a march two years ago that turned the tide against the NYPD tactic known as stop-and-frisk, the Associated Press reported.
"[Mr. Sharpton's] work gets more powerful with every passing year. He reaches more people, he has a greater impact," the mayor said.
Mr. Sharpton denied Monday a report that claims he once served as a paid FBI informant.
"I don't see this as news," he told FoxNews.com. "This has been brought up three or four times now. I don't understand. It's crazy.
Mr. Sharpton allegedly became an FBI informant after he was recorded discussing cocaine deals with an undercover agent, The Smoking Gun reported.
The report released Monday claims that Mr. Sharpton was known by the FBI as "CI-7" — short for confidential informant No. 7 — and information he gathered was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, "including Gigante's Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders and more than a dozen phone lines."
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