March 18, 2008
: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sean “Diddy” Combs has denied a report by the Los Angeles Times that his associates were responsible for the 1994 robbery and shooting of Tupac Shakur at a New York recording studio, and that he knew about the attack in advance.
“The story is a lie,” the hip-hop mogul said in a statement Monday. “It is beyond ridiculous and completely false. Neither (the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.) nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened. … I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story.”
The 1994 shooting triggered the celebrated feud between East and West Coast rappers that led to the killings of Shakur and B.I.G.
The Times said its story was based on FBI records, interviews with people at the scene of the 1994 shooting, and statements to the FBI by an informant. None of the sources was named. The story says associates hoping to curry favor with Combs — who was overseeing B.I.G.’s white-hot career at the time — lured Shakur to the studio because of his disrespect toward them.
The story said that talent manager James Rosemond and promoter James Sabatino arranged the assault. They and Combs declined to be interviewed for the story, which appeared on the Los Angeles Times Web site but not in its paper publication.
Rosemond called the story a “libelous piece of garbage.”
“In the past 14 years, I have not even been questioned by law enforcement with regard to the assault of Tupac Shakur, let alone brought up on charges,” he said in a statement. “Chuck Philips, the writer … has reached a new low by employing fourth-hand information from desperate jailhouse informants along with ancient FBI reports to create this fabrication. I simply ask for all rap fans and fans of Tupac to analyze this fiction for what it is.”
The story, written by Chuck Philips, was the first investigative report published as a Web exclusive, said Meredith Artley, editor of LATimes.com.
“This piece was perfect for the Web,” Artley said. “The Web audience skews younger. We had all these great multimedia elements, and we said we really don’t need to wait to fit this in the paper.”
A “smaller version” of the story may still run in the paper, she said.