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Exclusive: Former LA Times Writer Chuck Philip’s Demands Apology From Newspaper Over Henchman Retraction

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(AllHipHop News) Former Los Angeles Times reporter Chuck Philips is demanding an apology from his former employer, after the paper published a retraction in relation to a March 17th, 2008 article involving the robbery of rapper Tupac Shakur.

Philips was the author of an article titled “An Attack on Tupac Shakur Launched a Hip-Hop War.” In the days after the story was published, the Los Angeles Times initially supported Philips reporting that Rosemond hired unknown gunmen to rob Shakur.

But shortly afterwards, thesmokinggun.com revealed that certain documents within Philip’s article had been forged by a known con man named James Sabatino, who is in prison until 2013, on fraud charges.

The Los Angeles Times eventually published a front-page retraction to James Rosemond and Sean “Diddy” Combs, while Rosemond later filed a $100 million lawsuit against the paper that was settled out of court for $200,000 in Rosemond’s favor.

Philips was eventually let go by the Los Angeles Times during a round of layoffs that was attributed to budget constraints at the time.But Philips, who is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, told the Los Angeles Weekly, that the Los Angeles Times’ lack of support and the front page retraction ruined his career and credibility.

“I told the LA Times that Henchman was a criminal trying to extort the newspaper,” Chuck Philips told AllHipHop.com. “He was, I said, ‘laughing at them.’ I said ‘you got [to] fight fire with fire. I wanted to take him on in court. If he sued, I could subpoena witness testimony from the assailants and solve the Quad case in a court of law. I could put him on the stand and question him about the Quad and other alleged crimes his ex-friends had told me about. But the LA Times believed Henchman’s blowhard lawyer instead of me. My editors and lawyers didn’t believe a word I spoke.”

To make matters worse, a source told AllHipHop.com that James Sabatino had been bribed to place the forged “302 Documents” in question into the federal court system known as the Automated Case Support database, which is used by investigators to search the FBI’s database.

While Sabatino’s father is allegedly a made member of the Gambino crime family (and not the Colombo family as previously reported), his son was just a hanger on and teenager at the time of the Quad incident in 1994.

“In April 2008, the LA Times published a searing front-page retraction trashing my story, my sources, my reporting and myself. I was pressured for days to accept the way the paper wanted to phrase the retraction,” Philips told AllHipHop.com. “But it was not accurate. My sources were solid. My reporting was solid. Unfortunately, the documents turned out to be fakes — and the guy who fabricated them a liar. The retraction made me sound like Jayson Blair or Janet Cooke. It was worded as though I had made up the entire story and snuck it into print behind management’s back, without the knowledge, consent or guidance of senior editors and lawyers directly involved in its publication.

On June 15th, accounts in Philips’s original 2008 story were bolstered when a convicted murderer/contract killer named Dexter Isaac came forward and admitted to his role in robbing Tupac Shakur, along with two other men on November 30th, 1994.

Dexter Isaac, long considered a suspect in the robbery, released a statement to AllHipHop.com and finally admitted to his role in the robbery, which was allegedly masterminded by James Rosemond for a mere $2,500 dollars.

“That’s a lot less than the $200,000 the LA Times paid Henchman to back off,” Chuck Philips told AllHipHop.com. “Moreover, I was laid off the afternoon Henchman signed the out-of-court settlement – presumably as a silent unwritten clause in the deal to satisfy Henchman’’s calls for my firing on MTV and other media outlets.”

On Tuesday (June 21st), Rosemond was apprehended by DEA agents in Manhattan, after being on the run for over two weeks, over a federal indictment accusing him of dealing massive amounts of cocaine and making millions of dollars in illegal proceeds.

Additionally two men who have been connected to Rosemond are accused of participating in a murder-for-hire plot involving the shooting death of an associate of 50 Cent’s G-Unit imprint.

Rodney Johnson, 37 and Brian McLeod, 40, have been accused of shooting and killing Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher, who was gunned down in the Bronx in September of 2009.

Fletcher had been out of prison for only two weeks, when the two men killed him in return for kilos of cocaine, allegedly at Rosemond’s orders.

Fletcher was in prison for his role in assaulting Rosemond’s young son in March of 2007.

Rosemond has pleaded not guilty to a variety of drug distribution and money laundering charges. If convicted he faces up to life in prison.

Philips is not losing any sleep over Rosemond’s predicament, but he is calling on the Los Angeles Times to publish a front page retraction in order to clear his name as a journalist.

“I am calling on the lawyers and editors at the Los Angeles Times –  some of whom I used to think were friends – to please do the right thing,” Chuck Philips told AllHipHop.com. “The newspaper must publish a new front-page retraction vindicating me – one the exact same size with the exact same placement as they gave the false retraction that destroyed my reputation.

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