A Los Angeles Times story about a 1994 attack on rap superstar Tupac Shakur was partially based on documents that appear to have been fabricated, the newspaper says. Reporter Chuck Philips and his supervisor, Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, issued statements of apology. The Times took withering criticism for the article, which appeared on latimes.com last week. The Smoking Gun Web site said the newspaper had been the victim of a hoax. “In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job,” Philips said. “I’m sorry.”
The Times story said the paper had obtained “FBI records” in which a confidential informant accused two men of helping to set up the attack on Shakur. The Smoking Gun (www.the smokinggun.com) asserted that the documents were forged by a convicted con man, now in federal prison, with a history of elaborate fantasies. The Smoking Gun said the Times had overlooked numerous misspellings and unusual acronyms and redactions that could have cast doubt on the documents’ authenticity. The documents appeared to have been prepared on a typewriter; a former FBI supervisor estimated that the bureau stopped typing reports about 30 years ago.