How does someone qualify for description as an "eminent politician" by the New York Times? Being very, very liberal seems to help.
"I like the fact that my family was a family of protesters. I like the fact that some of them were Communists."
He also spoke of his satisfaction of "being in jail with Stokely Carmichael and other revolutionaries." In the December 14, 1972 issue of Jet Magazine (page 32), Sutton acknowledged it would be nice to be mayor, but "I don't think that New Yorkers are ready for a person with my liberal views and for someone with the color of my skin."
The New York Times covers some of lawyer Sutton's more notorious associations: He represented Malcolm X and later his daughter when she was accused of hiring a man to kill Louis Farrakhan. Sutton helped pay some of the slander damages owed by Al Sharpton in the Tawana Brawley case. When Mike Tyson left prison and came back to Harlem, Sutton was there to welcome him.
The newspaper advises readers that Sutton "displayed fierce intelligence and exquisite polish in becoming one of the nation’s most prominent black political and business leaders." He invariably applied that "fierce intelligence" to very liberal causes. No wonder the mainstream media view him as eminent.