Last month, a trial in Brooklyn started off with a strange twist. At the federal criminal trial of James Rosemond — a/k/a Jimmy Henchman — one of the first things Rosemond’s attorney did was kick an unemployed journalist named Chuck Philips out of the courtroom by naming him a witness in the case.

Philips was a reporter at the Los Angeles Times for 18 years covering crime and entertainment. In 1999, he won a Pulitzer Prize with his colleague, Michael Hiltzik, for a series examining corruption in the entertainment industry. In 1996, he won the George Polk Award for articles about black art and culture in America. A year later, he won a National Assn. of Black Journalists Award for in-depth coverage of the rap music business.

For years, he investigated the shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, producing some of the most important research into those crimes. And then, in 2008, Chuck Philips’ career in journalism suddenly ended. Now, for the first time, he’s speaking at length about how that came about, and how he became a witness in a federal trial. At the conclusion, we have a statement from the Los Angeles Times, which I received after informing its attorney that we were printing this story — Tony Ortega, Ed.

Read the article by Chuck Philip at the Village Voice