March 26, 2008
LA Times completely duped by Tupac fan/forger
The Smoking Gun totally busted the LA Times today over last week's story about the Tupac shooting that implicated Puff Daddy. Turns out the FBI documents that formed the basis of the story were fabricated.
And here's the best part: the guy who forged the FBI documents is James Sabatino (above), a known con man and rap fan who has been trying for years to, as the Smoking Gun puts it, "insinuate himself, after the fact, in a series of important hip-hop events, from Shakur's shooting to the murder of The Notorious B.I.G." In the forged documents he created, Sabatino actually named himself as one of the New York hip-hop figures who lured Tupac to the site of the shooting.
I love it.
This isn't the first time Sabatino has made up connections to famous rappers. According to the Smoking Gun, he had "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." He's currently in federal prison for some other crime.
Wired has good coverage of the many misspellings, typos, and other inaccuracies littered all over the fake FBI documents. And the NY Times is continuously updating their story, providing lots of details about LA Times journalist Chuck Philips (Pulitzer Prize winner!) and excerpts from interviews he's given since the article came out last week in which he gushes about how exciting it was for him to get such fabulous FBI reports--"like frosting on the cake." Philips notes that he had mysteriously never heard of James Sabatino in all the paper's years of reporting on the Tupac case, but insists, "he definitely knew these guys."
The LA Times has started to investigate their gigantic screw-up.
At the time the article came out, Puffy called the allegations "beyond ridiculous", which still seems to be true.
Another great bit from the Smoking Gun piece about Sabatino's other attempts to pass himself off as a hip-hop bigshot:
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