Embattled Rep. Rangel thanks crowd at birthday fundraiser

NEW YORK - Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel has told a packed gathering at a fundraiser in New York City that he wasdeeply moved by the show of support.

Rangel spoke last night to hundreds of attendees at the start ofthe gala at the Plaza Hotel. He was joined onstage by his wife anddaughter.

Most of the state's top Democratic lawmakers appeared at thefundraiser and were scheduled to speak on Rangel's behalf. However, many were met with hecklers yelling, ?Rangel?s a crook.?

The 80-year-old Rangel is facing 13 ethics charges. He has vowedto fight them and is refusing to resign the seat he has held for 40years.

The party required a minimum campaign contribution of $200. Sponsors were given the best seats for $2,500.

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