The Los Angeles Times issued an apology and Chuck Philips acknowledged he was "duped," but Jimmy Rosemond, who was implicated in Philips' contested article along with Diddy for organizing Tupac's 1994 Quad Studios ambush, wants even greater vindication.
Rosemond called for Philips' job."I lived with the rumor of what happened to Tupac for the last 14 years," Rosemond said Thursday afternoon. "And rumors are rumors — either you believe them or you don't — but when you have a reputable newspaper like the Los Angeles Times with a Pulitzer Prize winner like Chuck Philips to validate a rumor, then it becomes real. It becomes real in your life, real to the people around you. When you Google me, this affects me regardless, forever. I could always rebut a rumor, but this is something that's well more damaging. And I think Chuck Philips had no regards to my reputation, for myself as a businessman, myself as a father, a family man, somebody's son. And I think he did irreparable damage to my career, my reputation and everything else. I don't think there is no other reward for me or my family that he can do. An apology isn't going to do it. There has to be some form of reprimand in the sense of his job. He needs to lose his job."
Rosemond's remarks come just one day after Philips' article was called into question by TheSmokingGun.com. The document-digging Web site took issue with an FBI document used in Philips' bombshell report, in which he claimed Rosemond, along with a man by the name of James Sabatino, targeted Tupac Shakur for business purposes but were rebuffed by the rapper and later sought revenge against him. The Smoking Gun reported that Sabatino had forged the FBI documents; the L.A. Times conceded that they apparently were fabricated.
The paper launched its own investigation into Philips' story and ran an apology for the piece in Thursday's edition. Philips said in a statement: "In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job."
Rosemond — who formerly went by the name Jimmy Henchman but dropped the moniker to distance himself from his past, including jail time — had long-denied any involvement in the shooting, which injured Shakur.
The day after Philips' article ran, Rosemond issued a lengthy statement, attacking Philips' credibility and calling into question the writer's previous bombshell story, in which Philips reported that the Notorious B.I.G. had personally handed his own gun over to the Crip gang member who killed Tupac.
In Philips' most recent article, sources linked Rosemond — now a talent manager whose clients include rappers the Game and Gucci Mane — with Sabatino. The report alleged that the two men did business together, with Rosemond aspiring to be a manager and Sabatino a promoter. When disrespected by Shakur, according to Philips' article, the two men banded together to have the rapper beaten as a way to warn him and get into Diddy's favor.
Rosemond, however, contends that he has never met Sabatino. The Smoking Gun report characterized Sabatino as "an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries, conducted business with [Diddy], Shakur, Busta Rhymes and the Notorious B.I.G., and even served as [Diddy'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."
"I have no idea who James Sabatino is," Rosemond said of the man who, based on the Smoking Gun's descriptions, he characterized as "a groupie." "I just found out today that he's 31. At the time of this crime, he would have had to be somewhere around 17 or 16. There's no way that I was hanging out with nobody that was 16 years old at the time."
Rosemond said he and his lawyer are discussing any legal action they may pursue in response to the story. He said Philips' apology means nothing to him, citing communication he and his attorney had with the scribe before the story was published.
"He took fiction and tried to make it into real life," Rosemond said flatly. "The Jimmy Henchman persona, something that I've been trying to get away from, it was folklore, and he tried to make it into a real character. He got caught up [talking to prison informants]."
Rosemond said he now hopes that he, along with the public, can move on to finding out who actually killed Tupac.
"I'm praying that he can rest in peace at this point, as far as dealing with the Quad issue," he said. "Let's deal with the issue of who killed Tupac — why did that happen? Why is the light so much on an assault instead of the murder of Tupac? I never understood that."