LA Times probes own report on Tupac attack

Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:16pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday launched an internal probe of its recent story about the 1994 shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur after a Web site questioned documents on which the newspaper based its report.

The story by Pulitzer Prize winner Chuck Phillips sought to link rap music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs to the assault on Shakur through two men the paper said were Combs' associates.

Combs had called the Times story a "lie" and strongly denied any involvement in the attack.

Shakur, one of rap's rising singers, survived a beating and gunshot wounds to the groin, head, hand and thigh at the Quad Recording Studios in New York City in 1994 but was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

The Smoking Gun, a Web site that specializes in uncovering news from legal documents and court filings, said on Wednesday it believed Federal Bureau of Investigation documents used by the Times were forgeries.

The Smoking Gun story -- posted at -- said the FBI documents were created by one of the subjects in the Times' report, James Sabatino, who is now in jail for wire fraud and racketeering.

The documents have black marks covering the name of the agent or agents who prepared them, appear as if parts were created using a typewriter and "are nowhere to be found" in the FBI's computer system, according to The Smoking Gun.

The Times said on Wednesday that Editor Russ Stanton "will launch an internal investigation into the authenticity of (the) documents."   Continued...

<p>Rapper Tupac Shakur is seen at the MTV Music Video Awards in New York in this Sept. 4, 1996 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>