Another potential disaster at the LA Times

This is not what the LATimes needs right now:

L.A. Times to investigate validity of documents in Tupac report

The Smoking Gun website reports that the records the paper used to uncover new details in the rapper’s murder were largely fabricated. An internal investigation will be launched.

By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
11:37 AM PDT, March 26, 2008

Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton said today he will launch an internal investigation into the authenticity of documents used in a story last week asserting that the newspaper had uncovered new evidence implicating associates of rap impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs in a bloody 1994 assault on hip-hop superstar Tupac Shakur.

Stanton ordered the review after the editor of the celebrity-centric website, The Smoking Gun, told the newspaper that he had reason to doubt The Times’ account and in particular the FBI records that were supposed to buttress the story.

The website this morning posted a story saying the records — purportedly statements by an unnamed informant to an FBI agent, which the newspaper posted on its website — appeared to be forgeries. The Smoking Gun ( www.thesmokinggun.com ) said the documents seemed suspicious for multiple reasons, including the fact that they appeared to be written on a typewriter, rather than a computer, and included blacked-out sections not typically found in such documents.

Although The Times has not identified the source of the purported FBI reports, The Smoking Gun story asserts that they were created by convicted con man James Sabatino, who the website contends was a starry-eyed music fan with a long rap sheet and a history of exaggerating his place in the rap music world.

The purported FBI reports were filed by Sabatino with a federal court in Miami four months ago in connection with a $16-million lawsuit he filed against Combs. Sabatino, who is serving time in prison for fraud, claims he is due the money for a business deal gone bad.

“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,” the report on the website says.

The rest is here.

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2 responses to “Another potential disaster at the LA Times

  1. One of my students just wrote a paper about how the LA Times’s campaign coverage was so much better than the NYTimes’s. She didn’t address their coverage of the rap-world shootouts of yore.

  2. One of the other writers on Highbrid Nation did a story on Pac and the craziness surrounding that shooting and I wondered what other were saying about this. It seems to me that this is something the news media refuses to let go. Everyone wants to be the one who solves the crime. In reality what are the chances of us solving a 15 year old crime? And in the end does it matter? That shooting did not lead to Pac’s death. He recovered from that shooting. So what’s the fuss about?

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