Thursday, March 20, 2008

Diddy Calls Accusations 'Beyond Ridiculous'

Mar 17 2008

Diddy Calls L.A. Times' Accusations About Tupac Assault 'Beyond Ridiculous'
Jimmy Rosemond, in separate statement, calls article 'garbage.'
By Jayson Rodriguez

Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond both responded quickly to allegations made in a Los Angeles Times article by reporter Chuck Philips that the pair, along with the Notorious B.I.G. and a New York promoter, knew in advance that Tupac Shakur would be assaulted at New York's Quad Recording Studios on November 30, 1994.

"This story is beyond ridiculous and is completely false," Diddy said in a statement released Monday (March 17). "Neither Biggie nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened. It is a complete lie to suggest that there was any involvement by Biggie or myself. I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story."

In a separate statement, Rosemond vehemently attacked the credibility of Philips, the article's author. Rosemond, who currently serves as the Game's manager, noted that he has never been questioned by police regarding the incident and criticized Philips' previous work, particularly the writer's suggestion that Biggie was present in Las Vegas the night Shakur was murdered and supplied the killer with the weapon. Rosemond also echoed Diddy's concern that the Times would print such a report.

"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," Rosemond said in a statement provided to MTV News. "Chuck Philips, the writer who in the past has falsely claimed that [Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace] was in Las Vegas when Tupac was murdered and that Biggie supplied the gun that killed Tupac — only to be proven wrong, as Biggie was in New Jersey recuperating from a car accident. [The Times] 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, along with Phillips' motives behind it," the statement continued. "I am baffled as to why the Times would print this on its Web site, when a simple and fair investigation would reveal that the allegations are false. I am currently consulting with my attorneys about my legal rights regarding this libelous piece of garbage."

In the article, published Monday morning, Philips contends Diddy, Rosemond, Biggie and now-jailed promoter James Sabatino were all aware of the setup intended for Shakur.

According to the article, FBI interviews with an informant in 2002 — along with Philips' unnamed sources — revealed that Rosemond and Sabatino were "infuriated by what they saw as Shakur's insolent behavior," referring to the rapper's dispute with Rosemond associate Jacques "Haitan Jack" Agnant. Shakur, at the time, was on trial for molestation charges stemming from an incident with a woman in a New York hotel. Shakur claimed Agnant and his associates were responsible for the act.

On the night of the Quad Studios shooting, three associates of Rosemond's were allegedly instructed to beat Shakur but not shoot the rapper, according to the article. A man with close ties to Shakur was also said to be involved, taking $7,000 in exchange for his cooperation.

The FBI documents do not name the informant cited in the article, but the Times claims the informant's identity was discovered, and he verified to the newspaper his comments made in the 2002 statement, as did other sources who corroborated those events on the condition their identities not be revealed in the article.

According to the report, Rosemond and Sabatino tried to lure Shakur away from his recording home, Interscope Records, to Diddy's Bad Boy label. Sources told the Times that Rosemond, Sabatino, Diddy and Biggie took offense to Shakur's refusal, and that, coupled with his mention of Agnant in the sexual-assault trial, propelled Rosemond and Sabatino to seek revenge against Shakur.

The FBI informant alleged that Rosemond's invite to Shakur to record a song with a protégé of his was insincere, asserting that Rosemond never intended to fully record the session. And Sabatino, the informant explained, informed Diddy and Biggie of the plans in advance.

The shooting, many believe, lead to the complete fallout between Shakur and Biggie and eventually lead to the two rapper's death amid the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry in the late '90s.

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