It seems that no matter where he turns, the Rev. Al Sharpton is besieged by reporters who, despite the current stew involving rape allegations against National Action Network attorney Sanford Rubenstein, the Rachel Noerdlinger story continues to be an issue he can’t avoid.
“Let me say from the start that I support her unequivocally,” Sharpton said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “The standard they are using to judge her should be applied to all city employees … there is no reason to crucify her.”
Sharpton’s position on Noerdlinger’s situation, in which she faces charges of not being truthful on a questionnaire she filled out upon taking the job as Chirlane McCray’s chief of staff, is one based on her association with him as a media consultant and communications director.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed similar feelings of support for Noerdlinger. “I have absolute faith in Rachel and her ability to serve the people of this city … case closed,” he told reporters during a recent press conference on Staten Island.
Noerdlinger, according to the Department of Investigation, failed to mention that she lived with Hassaun McFarlan, who, as a young man, was convicted of killing a teenager and, more recently, of dealing drugs. Even so, the Department of Investigation concluded that she had “no intention to deceive.” To date, no disciplinary action has been brought against her.
But these findings have not stopped the investigations, which recently uncovered that there was a $28,000 federal tax lien against her and that her son was active on his school football team after she had received a waiver to live in New Jersey because of a medical condition stemming from a car accident.
The mayor explained to the press that she “got the waiver for a variety of reasons, and it was done appropriately. The point is, and let’s be honest about this, the way this public discourse is going, people are going more and more, in not just his case but in many other cases, into people’s boyfriends, girlfriends, children, aunts, uncles. This does not have a lot to do with public service.”
Noerdlinger, he added, “is a good public servant.”