NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The Rev. Al Sharpton calls a report that he acted as a confidential informant for the FBI and helped take down members of the Genovese crime family a “recycled” story that exaggerates his role.

The Smoking Gun reported Monday that Sharpton recorded conversations with members of the mob using a bugged briefcase. While the allegations are not exactly new, the website said it obtained hundreds of pages of documents, including secret court filings and FBI memos, that prove the civil rights leader assisted for four years with a joint FBI-NYPD investigation.

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Sharpton, however, told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb that he only asked the FBI to investigate the crime family after receiving threats, and to label him a confidential informant is “absurd.”

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The FBI “came in 1982, ’83, after Don King tried to entrap me in a drug deal that didn’t work,” Sharpton explained. “Then seven months later, when I was threatened by members of the mob because I was saying that a lot of concerts should be going to black artists, and I went after them. I was threatened. I called these FBI guys back, since some of the guys were from California, and told them these are the kind of things they ought to be investigating.”

He said of The Smoking Gun: “They know that President Obama is speaking at my convention this week and (U.S. Attorney General) Eric Holder is speaking, and they’re just trying to get some attention, because at the end of the day, I’m not accused of committing a crime. So are you saying it’s scandalous for me to help the good guys? It’s crazy.”

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