Los Angeles Times writer Chuck Philips took to the Web on Tuesday (March 18) for a live chat on LATimes.com to defend his work, particularly a story he wrote in 2002 regarding who killed Tupac Shakur.
Philips — who has attracted attention recently with an article that alleged Diddy and the Notorious B.I.G. had prior knowledge of Shakur's 1994 attack at Quad Recording Studios — said the Bad Boy camp provided insufficient evidence that Biggie (real name: Christopher Wallace) was in New Jersey at the time of Shakur's 1996 Las Vegas murder. Philips also claimed Jimmy Rosemond, the Game's manager, knew of the plot to attack Shakur.
Philips claimed federal officials conducted interviews inquiring about Biggie's whereabouts the night Shakur was fatally shot, though he didn't specify who was questioned nor the results. Philips also reiterated that Wallace was in Nevada at the time of Shakur's death, according to unidentified sources.
"It has never been proven that Christopher Wallace was not in Las Vegas on the night Tupac was shot," Philips wrote in response to a reader's question. "Bad Boy produced some computer-generated documents purporting to place him in a recording studio in New York, but they were not time-stamped. Bad Boy said it was going to produce video of Biggie there. They never did that. I have since learned that federal officials conducted interviews in Las Vegas to determine whether Wallace was present. My sources were there and say he and other East Coast figures were in Las Vegas on the night the Southside Crips killed Tupac."
In response to Philips' 2002 article claiming Biggie was in Las Vegas, the rapper's family flatly denied the L.A. Times scribe's accounts.
"We are outraged at the false and damaging statements," the family said at the time. "For the record, Wallace was at his home in New Jersey on the night of Tupac Shakur's murder, with friends who will continue to testify for his whereabouts, since he is unable to defend himself. Both men will have no peace as long as stories such as these continue to be written."
Philips noted that he wasn't originally pursuing the Quad Studios incident for a story. In the chat, he explained that he was in New York last year reporting and "stumbled" on the story after discovering the names of the three assailants who purportedly attacked and robbed Shakur. Philips never confirmed what story he was chasing, but in a separate interview, he said he was investigating information regarding the 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G.
"I stumbled on it last year after learning the street names of the assailants while I was reporting in New York," he wrote. "It took several months to track down the participants, and when I gathered enough solid info, I wrote the story. So I didn't find out about this until 2007."
Philips, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for beat reporting, also revealed he would publish two more related stories by the end of the year, although he didn't specify the topics. One is believed to be a report on who is responsible for the death of the Notorious B.I.G.