Al Sharpton was once a paid FBI informant who regularly met with members of organized crime families in New York City and secretly recorded their conversations, according to an explosive report from The Smoking Gun.

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Washington, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was 50 years ago today when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the memorial. Credit: AP

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Credit: AP

The report, which was published Monday, claims Sharpton sat down with members of “four of New York City’s five organized crime families.” He even “secretly taped some of those wiseguys using a briefcase that FBI technicians outfitted with a recording device.”

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Sharpton reportedly began working with the FBI in the mid-1980s and was known by the federal agency as “CI-7” — short for confidential informant No. 7.

The website claims its report is based on “hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.”

Further, The Smoking Gun reports that Sharpton in his “secret life” assisted the FBI in securing court authorization to surveil two Genovese “family social clubs.” Agents also used Sharpton’s information to get a wiretap on the telephone of Federico “Fritzy” Giovanelli, a “Genovese soldier.”

“Giovanelli was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeering following a trial during which those recordings were played for jurors. In a recent interview, the 82-year-old Giovanelli–now three years removed from his latest stint in federal custody–said that he was unaware that Sharpton contributed in any fashion to his phone’s bugging,” the report adds.

Read the entire fascinating report here.

UPDATE: Al Sharpton has denied several parts of The Smoking Gun’s report on his alleged role as an FBI informant. Via Fox News:

Al Sharpton on Monday dismissed a report portraying him as a one-time mob informant for the FBI, calling the claims old news and a “crazy” attempt to discredit him.

“I don’t see this as news,” Sharpton told FoxNews.com. “This has been brought up three or four times now. I don’t understand. It’s crazy.”

[...]

Sharpton did not deny working with the FBI but pushed back on the details in the Smoking Gun report.

The 59-year-old told FoxNews.com he was just “trying to get bad guys out of the music industry, and that is offensive to the American flag.”

A written response through his National Action Network called the Smoking Gun story “erroneous.”