L.A. journalist Chuck Philips was kicked out of court yesterday as he covered the New York trial of alleged drug dealer and longtime rap industry manager James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond.

Rosemond was indicted on federal drug charges in what authorities alleged was a New York-to-L.A. cocaine ring worth $10 million a year. He was also known for his onetime management of the The Game and connections to Sean Combs, Wyclef Jean and Akon.

After Philips reported that Rosemond allegedly ordered the 1994 attack on Tupac Shakur that set off the East Coast-West Coast rap wars, the journalist and the hip-hop figure became mortal enemies:

The Los Angeles Times retracted Philips' 2008 story on Rosemond after finding out that phony court documents were used as part of the backbone of the story.

However, Philips says that he had the story without the FBI docs, which were found in federal court file, and that his editors insisted they be used as a tent pole for the piece.

Chuck Philips.; Credit: Dennis Romero

Chuck Philips.; Credit: Dennis Romero

In any case, the reporter was pushed out of the Times that year, shortly after the retraction, and he maintains that the paper paid Rosemond $200,000 for what it felt was its false implication of him.

The reporter said the episode ruined his career. Despite winning a Pulitzer for his coverage of the music business at the Times, Philips couldn't get arrested. And his book proposal on the East Coast-West Coast rap wars went nowhere, despite his unparalleled reporting and access to sources.

However, a year ago, one of Philips' main sources for the story, Dexter Isaac, in prison for murder, admitted that, yes, he was in on the 1994 New York studio attack on Tupac and that, allegedly, Rosemond was behind it because he had been miffed that Shakur passed on his offer to manage him.

Told ya so, Philips said. He demanded that the Times' retract his retraction. Really.

Fast forward nearly a year.

Rosemond has been indicted for the coke trade. And Philips is in New York this week to cover the trial for his own book research.

Lo and behold, Philips becomes the focus.

On Tuesday he was kicked out of the courtroom. Why? Well, on Monday he was handed a subpoena: Rosemond's lawyers wanted the journalist to testify!

On Tuesday they argued that Philips couldn't just hang around and watch the trial if he was going to be a part of it. The judge agreed and kicked him out.

Philips told AllHipHop.com:

[Rosemond attorney Gerald] Shargel used me as a red herring for the jury in his opening argument. He subpoenaed me as witness not for my testimony, but so he could keep me out of the courtroom and stop me from covering the trial.


Philips told the Weekly:

I was shocked to hear his [Rosemond's] lawyer single me out during opening arguments as the major cause of his demise. It was surreal. What a desperate ploy.

Worse than that, one of his legal team handed me a subpoena on my way out of court. Now I have to testify.

Rosemond has pleaded not guilty to the drug charges.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly