Morning Politics: ‘Led by an Animal Czar’

Today's New York Post

Today’s New York Post

Headline of the Day: “Bill de Blasio: ‘A Real Mets Mensch.'”

Rev. Al Sharpton is on the defensive after The Smoking Gun reported yesterday that the civil rights leader was an FBI informant. Mr. Sharpton has scheduled a press conference to address the issue later this morning but he already denied much of the story in interviews with media outlets. “I was never told I was an informant,” he told the Daily News.

“Most of what I’ve looked through does not remind me of anything I was involved in,” Mr. Sharpton told The New York Times. “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.” Elements of the story were reportedly written about in the 1980s.

The Times profiled Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who “as chairman of the Cultural Affairs Committee — and now majority leader — … has carved out a niche as the Council’s champion of the arts, one whom cultural organizations have come to rely on as they press their agenda forward with a new administration.”

The News reports that animal rights advocates–including NYCLASS, which heavily invested in last year’s elections–want the city to create a new Office of Animal Welfare “with real bite — it would be located in City Hall and report directly to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. The office, led by an animal czar, would ‘centralize oversight’ on all Big Apple animal issues.”

State Senator Malcolm Smith‘s corruption trial will begin before his primary election, the New York Post reports: “A federal judge on Monday ordered state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s fraud and bribery trial to begin June 2, quietly rejecting the powerful Queens Democrat’s bid to push the date back a few months so he could smoothly seek re-election.”

And here’s video, via NYTrue.com, of ex-Councilman Charles Barron crashing Mr. de Blasio’s press conference yesterday: