Jeff Bezos Accuses Tabloid Of 'Extortion' Over 'Intimate Texts'

Dwayne Harmon
February 8, 2019

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

AMI's relationship with Trump has gotten the company into hot water in the past. The e-mails detail explicit photos The Enquirer had obtained of Mr Bezos and Ms Sanchez but hadn't run, and went on say AMI would not publish the photos if Mr Bezos stopped his investigation and publicly said he did not think the leak had been politically motivated.

After the tabloid published a story about his extramarital affair last month, Mr. Bezos ordered a team of private investigators to get to the bottom of how the Enquirer obtained risque texts between the executive and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez. Bezos commissioned de Becker - his longtime security consultant - to investigate how the material fell into the Enquirer's hands.

AMI has yet to respond to queries on the matter, Bloomberg reported. The Enquirer started posting parts of its exposé online that day.

Manuel Roig-Franzia, the reporter, told MSNBC that while reporters at the paper have not spoken to Bezos about the coverage, they have spoken "extensively" with his lead investigator, Gavin de Becker.

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

Bezos alleges that Pecker and his crew are threatening to post the nudes because of an investigation by the Washington Post - which Bezos owns - into whether Pecker has been using his tabloids, including the Enquirer, for political ends.

The media group has also been accused of sharing an advance copy of "The New Kingdom", a 97-page magazine lauding Saudi Arabia's crown prince published ahead of a planned media blitz, with the Saudi Embassy in Washington, a move that some say - including Bezos in his Medium post - was to foster goodwill between Mr. Trump and the Saudi kingdom's leaders. It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.

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On Thursday, Bezos noted that Pecker is cooperating with federal prosecutors who are investigating "catch-and-kill" payments the Enquirer made ahead of the 2016 presidential election to at least one woman who alleged she had an affair with Trump.

A lot of them are pretty standard sexting gear, and I pass no judgement on Bezos or his alleged mistress for the majority of the contents revealed. These photos include, aside from a "below the belt selfie - otherwise colloquially known as a "d*ck pick" - photos of Bezos naked or half-naked while wearing a wedding ring and photos of Sanchez' cleavage as well as " a photograph of her smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated oral sex scene".

According to emails included by Mr Bezos in his blog, an AMI lawyer proposed on Wednesday that the photos would not be published in return for a public statement "affirming that [Bezos and his team] have no knowledge or basis" to suspect such a motive.

Bezos fought back against the idea that the tumult in his personal life is impacting his role as CEO of the Seattle-based commerce and technology giant.

The Bezos announced their divorce earlier this year. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out".

Bezos is Amazon's largest shareholder, with a stake of about 16 percent.

Bezos called the exchanges an "extortionate proposal".

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