By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 09, 2002 01:00 AM

The family of late rapper Notorious B.I.G. (real name: Christopher Wallace) is denying a Los Angeles Times report that he had a hand in the 1996 Las Vegas murder of his archrival, Tupac Shakur.

“We are outraged at the false and damaging statements,” Wallace’s family said in a statement. “For the record, Wallace was at his home in New Jersey on the night of Tupac Shakur’s murder, with friends who will continue to testify for his whereabouts since he is unable to defend himself.”

According to the Times story, Wallace (who was himself gunned down in 1997), provided Shakur’s murder weapon as well as a $1 million bounty to Orlando Anderson, a member of the Crips gang. Anderson was reputedly later killed in an unrelated shooting.

“Not only could my son not have participated in such a crime, but he also wept openly and was desperately saddened at the news of Tupac’s death,” said Voletta Wallace.

The Times story was published on the sixth anniversary of Shakur’s slaying and was the result of a yearlong investigation by reporter Chuck Philips.

Former Las Vegas Sun reporter Cathy Scott, who chronicled the shooting in 1996 and published a book on the subject, “The Killing of Tupac Shakur,” tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she doesn’t buy the Times account.

“It didn’t happen that way,” Scott said. “Biggie was a rapper, not a killer, and he was a mama’s boy and not the thug Tupac was.

“Biggie was accused early on, so that’s nothing new. And everyone knows it was the Crips who shot Tupac,” Scott added, and then noted, “It’s easy to point a finger at a dead guy. The dead can’t sue.”