Patterico's Pontifications

3/26/2008

Pwn3d: Los Angeles Times Accused of Basing Story on Forged Documents — With Bonus Chuck Philips Connection

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:10 am

The Smoking Gun reports:

Last week’s bombshell Los Angeles Times report claiming that the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur in the lobby of a Manhattan recording studio was carried out by associates of Sean “Diddy” Combs and that the rap impresario knew of the plot beforehand was based largely on fabricated FBI reports, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The Times appears to have been hoaxed by an imprisoned con man and accomplished document forger, an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries, conducted business with Combs, Shakur, Busta Rhymes, and The Notorious B.I.G., and even served as Combs’s trusted emissary to Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight during the outset of hostilities in the bloody East Coast-West Coast rap feud.

A Suge Knight connection. Interesting, given that the apparently snookered reporter in question is Chuck Philips.

Read it all. The Smoking Gun makes a very convincing case. One of the more amusing pieces of evidence: numerous words were misspelled the same way in both the allegedly forged FBI reports provided by the inmate, and the inmate’s court filings.

This is very, very big. We’ll be hearing much more about this, you can count on that.

Thanks to about a bajillion readers for the tip. Pat Riotic was first.

16 Comments

  1. The “imprisoned con man and accomplished document forger” obvious have very much pent up anger and was misunderstood the the LA Times reporter.

    Or at least that would be take if the Times hired a PR person from the Obama campaign.

    Comment by Neo (cba5df) — 3/26/2008 @ 11:49 am

  2. Who the holy crap is Chuck Philips?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:01 pm

  3. Chuck Phillips won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the East-West Hip Hop feud, and he has written numerous LAT articles on the subject — including a series of pieces intended to cast doubt on the claim of a LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective that the killer of Biggie Smalls was an LAPD officer later convicted of bank robbery, who, it turns out, was a long-time friend of Suge Knight and moonlighted as a bodyguard for Death Row Records.

    Comment by WLS (68fd1f) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:04 pm

  4. Scott,

    Look here and especially here.

    Comment by DRJ (a431ca) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:04 pm

  5. Patterico — I’m in the process of Fisking Phillips article right now. Some of the “slight of hand” he played in his sourcing is astounding. I think there is a real chance he might get canned over this story if he was not 100% upfront with his editors about his source(s) and the “informant.”

    I’ll have a post up in a little while going through the article carefully. I would be helpful if someone could post a link to images of the FBI 302s in question. The TSG article had part of one image, and they certainly reviewed the documents, but they are no longer attached to the LAT article. I would like to see them for myself and evaluate them based on my own experience.

    Comment by WLS (68fd1f) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:10 pm

  6. Chalk one up for the notion that blogs have no way of competing with a big city newspaper’s research, editorial department, and highly competent staff. Which large building downtown does the smoking gun operate out of again?

    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:13 pm

  7. And look here, and be sure to look here.

    Comment by Bradley J. Fikes (5a563c) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:19 pm

  8. WLS…
    Could you elucidate on this…
    “…the claim of a LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective that the killer of Biggie Smalls was an LAPD officer later convicted of bank robbery, who, it turns out, was a long-time friend of Suge Knight and moonlighted as a bodyguard for Death Row Records.”

    Whom, does “who” refer to?

    Comment by Another Drew (f9dd2c) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:49 pm

  9. Ahh. Facinating. No wonder I had no idea who he was… I hate rap and hip-hop, and thus never gave even the tiniest of shits about those shootings.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec) — 3/26/2008 @ 12:51 pm

  10. #8 – I think it might be David Mack. He was named in a civil suit and I think is currently in prison for bank robbery.

    Comment by chas (68d8c2) — 3/26/2008 @ 3:00 pm

  11. chas, I was confused as to the whether “who” referred to the LAPD officer, or the detective?

    But, the way I write, I shouldn’t complain.

    Comment by Another Drew (f9dd2c) — 3/26/2008 @ 3:22 pm

  12. David Mack was the LAPD officer convicted of bank robbery. Some witnesses identified the car driven by the shooter in the BIG shooting as a black Chevy Impala SS. Mack owned an Impala SS.
    There are several other interesting facts about Mack.

    Mack grew up in Compton near Suge Knight, head of Death Row Records, the West Coast rival of Bad Boy Records. Both Mack and Knight are connected to the Piru Bloods gang in that area. Knight supposedly had BIG whacked in retaliation for Tupac’s killing, as Tupac was Death Row’s biggest star.

    The detective in question is Russell Poole. He later quit LAPD claiming that his report implicating Knight and Mack was suppressed because it reflected poorly on then LAPD Chief Bernard Parks, who was battling to keep his job.

    The LAT had long been a supporter of Parks, and Phillips has been engaged in a long-standing effort lasting over several in-depth pieces to discredit Poole’s theory that Knight was responsible and Mack was the shooter.

    Comment by WLS (68fd1f) — 3/26/2008 @ 4:01 pm

  13. If the LAT based this explosive story on false information, there will surely be very serious ramifications for the editorial group. I wouldn’t be surprised if they suffer the same fate that befell The New Republic during the Scott Beauchamp controversey when the magazines editors were forced to. . . um. . . ah. . . well, someone must have been disciplined. . . uh, no you say?. . . well, ah, they certainly got taken to task by the blogosphere! The LAT group better hope they don’t have treated in the same harsh way!

    Comment by JVW (2117c1) — 3/26/2008 @ 4:08 pm

  14. The TANG documents were forged by using a computer to simulate an old-school typewriter.

    James Sabatino apparently is way more talented than the unknown TANG forger. The guy faked computer documents with a typewriter. You’d think those strike overs woulda been a bit of a heads up.

    Comment by PLC14 (f74534) — 3/26/2008 @ 7:17 pm

  15. The duplicate spelling errors are equally good clues.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 3/26/2008 @ 7:22 pm

  16. Knight supposedly had BIG whacked in retaliation for Tupac’s killing, as Tupac was Death Row’s biggest star.

    Well, according to Russell Poole, Knight had Tupac whacked as well.

    Comment by Patterico (4bda0b) — 3/26/2008 @ 8:32 pm

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