Wednesday, 21 August, 2019


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer publisher tried to extort him

Jeff Bexos Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Speaks At Air Force Association Air Space & Cyber Conference. , Bloomberg
Conrad Doyle | 08 February, 2019, 08:46

Bezos says that the Enquirer is threatening to publish even more embarrassing photos of him if he doesn't put a stop to an investigation now underway by a private investigator hired by Bezos.

The billionaire, who also owns the Washington Post, said AMI had wanted him to make a "false public statement" that the National Enquirer's coverage of him and his mistress was not politically motivated. In response, he hired consultant Gavin de Becker to figure out how they obtained those text messages.

The world's richest man, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has accused the National Enquirer's owner of trying to blackmail him over lewd pictures.

And in his Medium post, Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, pointed to AMI and David Pecker's previous cooperation with Trump - including payments made to suppress negative stories, now under investigation by federal prosecutors.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Jeff Bezos and his estranged wife MacKenzie Bezos What does Bezos claim?

The alleged extortion raises questions among some legal observers 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. Bezos has been the target of criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump over the Post's critical coverage of the White House, and AMI has admitted that it engaged in what's known as "catch-and-kill" practices to help Trump become president.

In his blog, Bezos cited an email from AMI deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to a lawyer representing de Becker.

De Becker and his team suspect Michael Sanchez, a talent manager who touts his support of Trump and is an acquaintance of Trump allies Roger Stone and Carter Page, may have provided the information to the Enquirer, the person said. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out".

Bezos said in his Medium post that the tabloid threatened to keep the photos and publish them in the future "if we ever deviate from (the) lie" that politics played no role in the Enquirer's pursuit of Bezos' relationship with Lauren Sanchez. He wrote that it's "unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy".

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

"I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer's arrangement with Trump fielded similar "stop digging or we'll ruin you" blackmail efforts from AMI", Farrow tweeted Thursday evening.

Bezos usually stays out of the public eye, frequently delegating announcements and public Amazon business updates to his executives.

"Gavin de Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked", the reporter continued. "Alleged conduct like this puts them in the position to rethink that deal and potentially turn around and have to prosecute AMI, and that undermines their ability to continue to use them to assist other ongoing investigations".

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