The Rev. Al Sharpton filed a $1 billion defamation lawsuit against Home Box
Office Wednesday after the network aired a 19-year-old video of the famed
civil-rights leader discussing a potential drug transaction.
Sharpton's suit, filed at Manhattan State Supreme Court, alleged that the
network defamed the potential presidential candidate by airing portions of an
undercover video showing Sharpton and an undercover FBI officer discussing a
possible cocaine deal.
The black-and-white video, shot in 1983, shows Sharpton nodding and answering
questions about the proposed deal.
The video was part of an FBI sting operation to root out mob-based corruption
in boxing. At the time, Sharpton was affiliated with boxing promoter Don
HBO aired the video July 23 as part of a segment on its Real Sports with
Bryant Gumbel sports-magazine show dealing with mob influences in
Sharpton claimed that HBO only showed selective parts of the video and failed
to air a second surveillance videotape showing him rejecting the same agent
regarding any drug transactions.
HBO responded by calling the lawsuit 'silly,' adding that the network aired
Sharpton's position during the Real Sports telecast.
'As to Rev. Sharpton's claim that there is a second videotape that exonerates
him, we indicated to him that we would welcome the chance to see it,' the