The Los Angeles Times Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin and reporter Chuck Phillips have apologized to readers for a March 17 story which used fabricated FBI documents to allege Sean "Diddy" Combs and Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace had advanced knowledge about the assault of rapper Tupac Shakur in 1994.
The article, titled "Blood Feud," alleged that Combs and Wallace were warned that Shakur would be assaulted at the Quad Recoding Studios the behest of Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond and a convicted con man named James Sabatino.
TheSmokingGun.com website produced evidence yesterday (March 26) that FBI documents that were used to craft The Los Angeles Times story were actually forgeries, possibly by Sabatino himself.
"In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job," Philips said in a statement. I'm sorry."
Numerous inconsistencies were found in the FBI documents, which were entered into court when Sabatino filed a $19 million dollar lawsuit in federal court in Miami four months ago.
In the lawsuit, Sabatino, 31, said he had obtained the documents from the FBI in order to help him prepare his defense in a non-existent criminal case against him in 2002.
"We should not have let ourselves be fooled," The Los Angeles Times' Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin added. "That we were is as much my fault as Chuck's. I deeply regret that we let our readers down."
The assault of Tupac Shakur at the Quad Recording Studios in 1994 set off a rivalry between Shakur and Bad Boy Records, a feud that led to the deaths of both Shakur, in 1996 in Las Vegas and Wallace, six months later in 1997.
Both Combs and Rosemond have vehemently denied the charges in The Los Angeles Times article, which Phillips has admitted is fundamentally flawed.
"I now believe the truth here is that I got duped," Phillips said. "For this, I take full responsibility and I apologize."