Charles Rangel Says God Told Him Not to Take Plea Deal

By Ben Fractenberg on August 6, 2010 9:22am | Updated on August 6, 2010 10:07am

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) departs after speaking at the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Awards Luncheon at Columbia University on Aug. 5.
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) departs after speaking at the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Awards Luncheon at Columbia University on Aug. 5.
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Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MORNING SIDE HEIGHTS — Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel told a Columbia University crowd that God doesn't want him to take a plea deal, the Daily News reported Thursday.

Rangel was speaking Thursday at a Harlem Week luncheon when he alluded to divine intervention in his decision making over ethics charges filed against him.

"How lucky you are that God tells you you don't have to take a plea?" Rangel said, according to the News.

The House ethics committee charged Rangel with 13 violations last week, nine of which involved fundraising for Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service in Harlem. Rangel also allegedly used House stationery, congressional staff and government mailing privileges to secure donations, the ethics committee found.

Rangel's ethics problems have put a kink into his birthday plans too. high profile guests continue to back out of the Harlem Congressman’s 81st birthday party scheduled to be held at the Plaza on Aug. 11.

Brooklyn Rep. Edolphus Towns, Andrew Cuomo and Bill Clinton all said they couldn’t make it, the New York Times reported Thursday.

"It's not a birthday for them, it's a birthday party for me!" Rangel told the N.Y. Post Thursday.

Other high-profile guests said they were still planning on going, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and City Council leader Christine Quinn.

Thursday's Harlem Week crowd at Columbia University was also very supportive of Rangel; cheering after the Congressman compared himself to a wrongly accused bank-robber being pressured to cut a deal, the News reported.

"If you cut a deal, this judge is prepared to let you walk away with dignity," Rangel said. "One might say, 'Counselor, I haven't done anything. I didn't even work in the bank,' but the lawyer replies, 'Nobody has said you've done anything wrong. This is just a bad time to have trials about where you were. We have to get rid of this thing.'"

When pressed after the speech on the whether he really spoke with God Rangel backtracked a bit, the News reported.

"I exaggerated. I really didn't talk to God. ... I said that in the heat of the campaign, but no, She hasn't spoken to me recently."

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