LA Times apologizes for Tupac story

Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:28am EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday apologized for publishing a story about the 1994 shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur, after a Web site questioned the authenticity of documents the paper used for the report.

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

Shortly after its publication last week, Combs called the Times story "beyond ridiculous and ... completely false." He strongly denied any involvement in the attack.

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 paper launched an immediate investigation, and Philips issued an apology later in the day, as did his supervisor, deputy managing editor Marc Duvoisin.

"In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job," Philips said. "I'm sorry."

Los Angeles Times editor Russ Stanton, who took the top job last month after several years of cutback-related upheaval at the fourth-largest paper in the United States, said he would launch an internal review of the documents and the reporting surrounding the story.

"We published this story with the sincere belief that the documents were genuine, but our good intentions are beside the point," Stanton said in a statement published on the paper's Web site.   Continued...

<p>A graffiti sketch of Tupac Shakur in Portugal, in a file photo. 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. REUTERS/Nacho Doce</p>