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After launching their own probe into Chuck Philips' story, where he claimed that Diddy and Biggie knew that 2Pac would be assaulted in 1994 at Quad Studios in New York, the L.A. Times has concluded that the story was based on documents that were likely falsified.

Chuck Philips released a statement saying that, "In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job. I'm sorry."

"We should not have let ourselves be fooled. That we were is as much my fault as Chuck's," said Philips' editor at the paper, Marc Duvoisin. "I deeply regret that we let our readers down."

The Times probe had started on the back of a report by The Smoking Gun that asserted that they had been fooled by James Sabatino, who they claim to be a person who inserts himself into the lives of celebrities and important events, where he really had little to no involvement.

In the article, the Times says that Diddy's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, believes that the paper's actions reached the required legal standard for "actual malice", giving a celebrity like Diddy an opportunity to persue damages from them.

The lawyer also spoke with TMZ and they have a copy of the letter that he sent to the publisher of the times, dated March 18.

In the letter, he claims that the allegations levied in Philips' original article are "false and defamatory". He goes on to suggest that the article was published with "no reliable information to support it" and urges the paper not to print the article in their newspaper (this was after it was made available online, but before it was in the print edition).

One of the more interesting parts of the three page letter is when Weitzman reveals that Philips' reached out to a publicist for Combs on January 17 of this year. In response, Weitzman says, the publicist asked Philips, to explain his "angle on the story? Do you have some new information? And is there anything new that pertains to Combs?" Philips response painted a picture notably different from the one he ended up conveying in his article.

combs is not a central character in the story, but he is discussed.

according to my sources, shakur was wrong to accuse combs and wallace of ordering the attack. they did not order it. my sources allege, however, that a handful of individuals at the studio for the Junior MAFIA session that night were notified beforehand of what to expect.

With this in mind, Weitzman says that this is why Diddy declined comment for the article. If he had been told of what he would be accused of, he says, Combs would have issued a "strong statement" denying the claim.

"We question whether Mr. Philips should continue to report on the subject of Messrs. Combs, Wallace, and Shakur," the lawyer says in the letter. "His past reporting on these subjects has already been called into question by other media organizations."

Via Times Online and HHE.