Jeff Bezos Alleges National Enquirer of Blackmail Over Photos

Jeff Bezos Alleges National Enquirer of Blackmail Over Photos

If he declined, AMI threatened to publish compromising photos of Bezos and Sanchez. Howard added, "It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail - and quickly".

Instead of making a deal with AMI, Bezos chose to go public, writing: "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?" Bezos on Thursday said he directed de Becker to "prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to work on", and touted Amazon's business success.

Last month, the Enquirer reported that Bezos sent "sleazy text messages and gushing love notes" to Sanchez, months before Bezos announced he was splitting up with his wife, MacKenzie.

Their announcement came just before the National Enquirer carried reports about the tech titan's extramarital affair. Bezos began to investigate how the leak of his private information came about.

Mr Bezos said his ownership of the Washington Post was a "complexifier" for him because he had made enemies of "certain powerful people", including President Donald Trump, who is a friend of AMI's boss David Pecker. Last April, Farrow published a story in the New Yorker about the Enquirer's "catch and kill" practice - in which stories are buried by paying off sources - that benefited Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Jan. 31, de Becker was quoted in the Daily Beast suggesting that the Enquirer's pursuit of Bezos was politically motivated.

Jeff Bezos, a man previously known more for big balls than for BDE, published a rather incredible post today at Medium dot com.

AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, is led by David Pecker.

In September, the Justice Department agreed to a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, which requires the company and some top executives, including Pecker and Howard, to cooperate with authorities.




A lawyer for American Media did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. "For prosecutors, your worst nightmare is watching a cooperation deal unravel".

AMI's financial backer, hedge fund manager Anthony Melchiorre, also has rubbed shoulders with the president, including a White House dinner in July 2017.

According to Bezos, in addition to calling off his investigation, AMI wanted Bezos to publicly declare that Amazon had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

I've written a post about developments with the National Enquirer and its parent company, AMI.

"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.

The Bezos-Enquirer tussle may be another instance where the legal questions are eclipsed by a broader battle.

The proposed agreement in Fine's email also said: "AM agrees not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos (the "Unpublished Materials")".

Mr Bezos has portrayed himself as a champion of journalism, but his clash with the Enquirer may put him on some shaky ground.

So instead of quietly capitulating to avoid embarrassment, Bezos wrote his first-ever Medium post, making public the tabloid's threats and demands.

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