Jeff Bezos publishes National Enquirer extortion emails
08 February, 2019, 08:11 | Author: Brooke Harris
Bezos hints that the Enquirer's salacious investigation into his personal life was motivated by politics rather than journalism, as explained by the Washington Post earlier this week.
The story spilled into public on January 9 when Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, revealed they would be divorcing after 25 years of marriage - roughly two days after the Enquirer had informed him it would be publishing a story about his relationship with Sanchez. That same day, the National Enquirer touted that it would publish alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, whom he was said to be dating.
Mr Bezos, who is worth $150 billion (£115 billion), said that he was told by representatives of David Pecker, chairman of American Media Inc (AMI), owner of the Enquirer, to stop his investigation or else the publisher would print a series of explicit photographs of Mr Bezos, 55, and Ms Sánchez, 49.
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.
"I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering", Howard wrote, going on to say that the Enquirer had a "below the belt selfie" of Bezos, among other shots. In exchange for a promise to not publish embarrassing photos obtained from his text messages, AMI's general counsel Jon Fine asked for Bezos and his lawyer for a statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".
A spokesman and an attorney for AMI did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Trump has been highly critical of Bezos and the Post's coverage of the White House. The company has been cooperating with investigators in the Southern District of NY ever since it admitted to making a $150,000 "catch-and-kill" payment to rid of a story about an alleged affair Trump had with former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The alleged blackmail attempt was in connection with pictures of Bezos with former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
[.] Because of both [their] friendship and the money that Pecker saw could be made from promoting the Republican presidential candidate, Pecker used the "National Enquirer" as a forum for promoting Trump's campaign.
The National Enquirer previously published an expose on Sanchez' and Bezos' relationship. It admitted to "catch-and-kill" practices as part of a deal with federal prosecutors, who agreed to not pursue charges against the company.
So instead of quietly capitulating to avoid embarrassment, Bezos wrote his first-ever Medium post, making public the tabloid's threats and demands.
Bezos said he chose to publish the emails sent to his team "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", despite the "personal cost and embarrassment they threaten". President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. He also published correspondence between AMI and lawyers for his investigator, Gavin de Becker.
Bezos includes the emails from AMI in his Medium post.
· Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting. Or at least that's what the top people at the National Enquirer thought.
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