The Los Angeles Times and reporter Chuck Philips have issued apologies for the inaccurate reporting in a recent piece on the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur at the Quad recording studio in Manhattan. The apologies come on the heels of an investigative report published online yesterday (March 26) by web site thesmokinggun.com that exposed the documents Philips used to source his story as fraudulent. In their report, The Smoking Gun meticulously detailed how incarcerated con man James Sabatino forged FBI records that Philips subsequently accepted as legitimate. The website pointed out that the documents contained several typographical errors and unusual acronyms not typically used by the FBI. Furthermore, the papers appeared to have been composed on a typewriter, and FBI agents stopped using typewriters decades ago. Sabatino filed the fake documents as part of a suit he initiated against Sean “Diddy” Combs last year over $19 million he claimed the mogul owed him. “In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job,” Philips said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon (March 26). “I’m sorry.”
In Philips piece, he asserted that both Combs and Czar Entertainment founder Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond had prior knowledge of the November 20, 1994 ambush of Tupac at the Quad. Both Combs and Rosemond vehemently denied the allegations immediately after the Times report was published. Following the release of The Smoking Gun’s report, attorneys for both men accused the paper of negligence and suggested that defamation lawsuits could follow. “I would suggest to Mr. Philips and his editors that they immediately print an apology and take out their checkbooks—or brace themselves for an epic lawsuit,” Rosemond’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, commented on Wednesday.