As previously reported, the documents used in the Los Angeles Times’ investigation of the death of Tupac Shakur were recently called into question. The Associated Press now reports that the publication has issued an apology for using these documents, which implicated associates of Sean “Diddy” Combs in a 1994 assault on the late rapper.

“The bottom line is that the documents we relied on should not have been used,” said Editor Russ Stanton in a story posted last night (March 27) on the newspaper’s website. “We apologize both to our readers and to those referenced in the documents … and in the story.”

Reporter Chuck Philips, who wrote the story, and his supervisor Deputy Managing Editor Marc Dvoisin, also apologized. These apologies came on the heels of an investigation launched by Stanton after The Smoking Gun website reported that the paper was duped by a prisoner who doctored the documents.

The web site noted that the documents seemed phony because they appeared to have been written on a typewriter, and included blacked-out sections not typically found in such documents – among other problems.

Philips said he had a former FBI agent examine the documents to see if they appeared legitimate, but now wishes he had done more to investigate the authenticity. “I now believe the truth here is I got duped,” he said.

Marc Lichtman, attorney of Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond, who was implicated in the news piece, had demanded an apology earlier. “I would suggest to Mr. Philips and his editors that they immediately
print an apology and take out their checkbooks — or brace themselves
for an epic lawsuit
,” said Lichtman.

The Tupac story attracted nearly one million hits – more than any other LATimes.com story had gotten all year.