Bezos Says National Enquirer Tried to Blackmail Him With Intimate Photos

Bezos Says National Enquirer Tried to Blackmail Him With Intimate Photos

Bezos then hired a team of private investigators to find out how the tabloid got the texts and photos the two exchanged.

Mr Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, said last month they were getting divorced.

The National Enquirer published a story last month that included lurid texts between Bezos and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Mr De Becker mentioned in a recent Daily Beast interview that "strong leads point to political motives" and that he was interested in Lauren Sanchez's brother Michael, a vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump with links to his inner circle, as a possible perpetrator.

"In the AMI letters I'm making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal", Mr Bezos wrote.

AMI's lawyers want Bezos to say publicly that the Enquirer and its parent were not politically motivated when pursuing the story of Bezos's affair.

AMI did not immediately return a message from The Post about Farrow's claim.

"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Mr Bezos said in his post.

Bezos says doing that would constitute lying, which suggests that Bezos's investigation has found something concrete.


The relationship between the National Enquirer and Trump has been repeatedly scrutinized by the media, given the president's long friendship with AMI chief executive David Pecker. He owns the Washington Post, which has written critical stories about Trump, who counts Pecker as a close ally. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out".

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", he wrote in a blog post on Medium, the executive published emails they sent proposing a "completely confidential" agreement.

So, in an attempt to out the publication today, Jeff published their alleged threat via a "confidential" email sent to Martin Singer, the litigation counselor for his investigator.

Mr Trump, in turn, has frequently criticised Mr Bezos and his newspaper, The Washington Post, for everything from taxes and shipping fees to printing "fake news".

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.

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the allegations potentially put prosecutors in an awkward position because of the deal they had already cut with AMI. He also pointed to owning The Post and their coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as potential reasons people could be targeting him. Bezos commissioned de Becker - his longtime security consultant - to investigate how the material fell into the Enquirer's hands. That's one of the dangers to democracy of what they were engaged in when they were catching and killing information they could have used against Candidate Trump and now President Trump.

"They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn't stop our investigation", Bezos wrote.

"It shows how complicated and unsafe it is to make an agreement with National Enquirer", Levenson said.

Mr Bezos's wealth now is valued at US$133.9 billion (S$181.6 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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