Formerly titled American Bulls**t, the film centres on the Abscam sting operation run by the FBI in the 1970s, which uncovered political corruption in East Coast cities.
"My character is a guy who comes in and represents the whole gambling thing, trying to help them work it out," De Niro told Empire. "Unwittingly, he's also being used. He's legitimate, in that he can do casinos, but he's also connected to the underworld."
"It's the story of how the government prosecutor went after federal politicians. They were taking bribes to allow the legalisation of gambling in New Jersey."
The film reunites a pair of former O Russell co-stars – Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper from Silver Linings Playbook, and Christian Bale and Amy Adams from The Fighter.
Michael Peña, Jeremy Renner and Louis CK are among the supporting cast.
The untitled film will be released in the US on December 25, with a UK release date yet to be confirmed.
Watch the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook below: