Amazon's Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'

Lloyd Doyle
February 8, 2019

Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos accused National Enquirer's parent company of trying to blackmail him with lewd photos of him and his mistress Thursday evening. The investigator, Bezos says, is determining how the tabloid got access to his private text messages with Lauren Sanchez, the woman Bezos had allegedly been seeing.

According to the letters, in exchange for not publishing these photos, AMI's Deputy General Counsel, Jon Fine, wanted Bezos and his team to acknowledge that "they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility".

Bezos declined to do so. He also published correspondence between AMI and lawyers for his investigator, Gavin de Becker. In one, top Enquirer editor Dylan Howard appears to suggest that the tabloid would publish a series of salacious photos of Bezos and one of Sanchez if AMI's terms weren't met.

".In the interests of expediating [sic] this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer's initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering", Howard wrote. "I hope common sense can prevail - and quickly".

Bezos, who owns more than $120 billion in Amazon stock, continued, "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

The new information reveals what has consumed the world's richest man since that publication revealed he was having an affair.

Bezos last month posted a statement on Twitter, signed by him and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announcing their plans to divorce.

· A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand - while wearing his wedding ring.

AMI - which is run by David Pecker, a longtime pal of President Trump - has admitted to buying the rights to potentially embarrassing stories about the commander-in-chief in an effort to keep them from seeing the light of day.

The alleged extortion raises questions about whether AMI and its chief executive David Pecker have violated a cooperation agreement AMI made past year with federal prosecutors in connection with a $150,000 hush-money payment given to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claims she had an affair with President Donald Trump.

On Feb. 5, The Post reported that Bezos and de Becker suspected that the source of the text and photo leaks may have been Sanchez's brother, Michael, a California public relations executive who is close to Pecker and various figures in Trump's orbit, including former campaign advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page.

"Clearly Bezos will have a civil claim against AMI if they chose to bring it, but the question is whether it is criminal", said David Berger, a litigation partner with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Mr Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen - who facilitated the hush money at the direction, he says, of Mr Trump - has already admitted violating campaign finance laws.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've chose to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", Bezos wrote in the post, which was entitled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker" and included copies of emails from AMI.

A spokesperson and an attorney for AMI did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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