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Sharpton denounces reports of probe into his financial records, employees

    NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday angrily denounced reports of an investigation into his 2004 presidential bid and suggested that federal authorities were retaliating against him for his civil rights advocacy.
    ‘‘I have probably been under every investigation known to man and I can’t remember a time that I’ve not been under investigation,’’ Sharpton said at the Harlem headquarters of his civil rights organization.
    He continued: ‘‘The issues raised are issues that we’ve learned over and over again, particularly when we are approaching an election season.’’
    Newspapers reported Thursday that federal authorities subpoenaed financial records and employees in an apparent probe of his presidential bid, nonprofit civil rights group and for-profit businesses.
    Sharpton said he thought the timing of the investigation was suspicious, coming just weeks after he led a march on the Justice Department to demand federal intervention in the Jena Six case in Louisiana and better enforcement of hate crimes.
    As many as 10 Sharpton associates were subpoenaed Wednesday to testify before a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on Dec. 26, his lawyer told the Daily News.
    They were told to provide investigators with financial records from the campaign and roughly six Sharpton-related businesses, as well as personal financial documents of Sharpton and his wife, the newspaper said.
    The FBI and Internal Revenue Service are seeking the records, which go back to 2001, according to the Daily News.
    An FBI agent who answered the phone at the agency’s New York headquarters declined to comment, and an agency spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message. An IRS spokesman did not immediately return phone calls.
    The charges against the six black students accused of attacking a white student in Jena, La., led to the September demonstration by Sharpton and other activists who alleged local authorities were prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites.

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