Los Angeles Times editor Russ Stanton responded to a report issued today (March 26) by TheSmokingGun.com, which refuted a story published by Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist, Chuck Phillips.
Phillips story claimed that Sean “Diddy” Combs and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace had knowledge that Tupac Shakur would be assaulted during a recording session at Quad Recording Studios in 1994.
According to the article, Shakur was supposed to have only been beaten, allegedly at the behest of Jimmy “Henchmen” Rosemond and a con man named James Sabatino, who is currently in prison for credit card related fraud.
Today, TheSmokingGun.com presented evidence that Sabatino may have forged the alleged FBI documents, which were cited in The Times story as proof that Combs and B.I.G. knew of the plot, which eventually led to the unsolved murders of both Shakur and B.I.G.
“Questions have been raised about the authenticity of documents that we relied on for a story on the assault of Tupac Shakur in New York,” L.A. Times editor Russ Stanton said in a statement. “We are taking this very seriously and have begun our own investigation.”
According to TheSmokingGun.com, Sabatino is a master forger who has sought entry into the music industry through a variety of schemes.
The website presented evidence that Sabatino may have forged “302″ FBI documents used to support The Times story.
The document contained numerous inconsistencies associated with a standard “302″ document, which is named so because of the government form it is written on.
According to TheSmokingGun.com, there were also numerous typographical errors, as well as similarities to the $16 million dollar lawsuit Sabatino filed against Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Sabatino claims that Combs owes him a $175,000 payment for audio and video made of The Notorious B.I.G. in 1994.
TheSmokingGun.com alleges that the entire lawsuit was a ruse to draw attention to the phony FBI documents, as well as Sabatino himself.
Both Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jimmy “Henchmen” Rosemond have repeatedly denied any involvement in the shooting of Tupac Shakur at the Quad in 1994.
The case is similar to the Killian documents controversy involving six fake documents critical of President George W. Bushs service in the Air National Guard.
It was later found that CBS failed to authenticate the documents, which ultimately cost legendary reporter Dan Rather his job.