(AllHipHop News) One of the most embarrassing moments in the history of the Los Angeles Times came in 2008 when the newspaper published an article titled “An Attack On Tupac Shakur Launched A Hip-Hop War.” The piece asserted that Sean “Diddy” Combs’ associates James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond, Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant, and supposed friend James “Jimmy” Sabatino conspired to orchestrate the shooting of Tupac Shakur in 1994 as retribution for not signing with Bad Boy Records.
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At first the piece was heralded as exceptional journalism, but it turned out that it was all based on a lie. L.A. Times reporter Chuck Phillips centered much of his story on FBI documents allegedly forged by master con man Sabatino whose family is connected to the New York mafia. The fake docs claimed that Sabatino was present with Combs and The Notorious B.I.G. the night Pac was shot at the Quad Recording Studios in New York.
Phillips said Sabatino called him from prison and provided information about the incident that allegedly backed up research the reporter had already collected. Ultimately, it was discovered that the so-called FBI papers were typo-filled forgeries drafted on outdated typewriters. Phillip’s story was discredited and the L.A. Times was forced to retract the article.
Sabatino recently gave his first interview to the Miami New Times and asserted that he was never in contact with Phillips. He says it was Rosemond who orchestrated the fake FBI docs scheme. Sabatino has been honest about other elaborate hoaxes he has conducted including pretending to be the nephew of music executive Tommy Mottola in order to steal $60,000 worth of Mac computers.
“This was the one con I didn’t do,” said Sabatino. He goes on to say Rosemond purposely set him up to appear as the source of Phillips’ bogus report.
Phillips later wrote an article for the Village Voice in 2012 revealing that Rosemond admitted involvement in the ’94 Pac shooting to federal prosecutors in an attempt to arrange a plea deal for a pending drug case. Rosemond was eventually sentenced to life in prison for a heading up the criminal enterprise known as “The Rosemond Organization.”
Rosemond’s former friend Dexter Isaac had also confessed to being involved in the Quad Studios ambush. Issac told AllHipHop in 2011 that Rosemond gave him $2500 and jewelry to conduct the hit on Pac. Henchman was also recently implicated in ordering the 2005 shooting of Pac’s former Death Row label head Suge Knight.
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Issac was also a known source for Phillip’s L.A. Times 2Pac article. Another layer to the story comes in the fact that Issac and Sabatino were housed at the same Pennsylvania prison, and both inmates had access to typewriters while incarcerated.
Sabatino was released from prison this past summer after serving 14 years. He was arrested again recently for conning hotels in Miami and for possessing nude photos of a 17-year-old girl on his phone.
Rosemond is facing a separate charge for the murder of Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher in 2009. That case is set to begin next week.