Friday, 22 February, 2019

Bezos Says National Enquirer Tried to Blackmail Him With Intimate Photos

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'extortion and blackmail' Amazon's Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'
Lloyd Bates | 08 February, 2019, 10:24

In a personal online post, Mr Bezos said that the owners of the Enquirer attempted "extortion and blackmail" to stop his investigation into how private text messages between him and Lauren Sánchez were leaked to the tabloid. Since then, private investigators have been looking into how the Enquirer got the texts. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment other than to confirm that Bezos wrote the post.

Pecker was "apoplectic" about the investigation, Bezos wrote, and a few days later his team was approached, both verbally then digitally, with an offer: Make a public statement claiming that AMI's coverage wasn't politically motivated, or the Enquirer would post another round personal photos, this time of an intimate nature, Bezos wrote. He posted an email from Dylan Howard, the chief content officer at AMI, which outlined in detail the photographs they allegedly have in their possession.

"In the AMI letters I'm making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal", Bezos wrote. If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?

In addition to founding the world's largest e-commerce site, Bezos, is also the owner and benefactor of The Washington Post.

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 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.

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In an email dated February 5, 2019, Jon Fine, the deputy general counsel of AMI, defends the Enquirer's reporting on Bezos' impending divorce, including the publication of "private photographs", and criticizes "continuing defamatory activities" by Bezos. AMI and its owner, David Pecker, have been accused of buying salacious stories about Donald Trump and killing them so they can't harm the president.

Neither Fine nor an AMI spokesman immediately returned messages seeking comment about Bezos' post. The photos include a "below the belt selfie" of Mr. Bezos, photos of him in tight boxer-briefs and wearing only a towel, and several revealing photos of Ms. Sanchez, according to the e-mail Mr. Bezos released in his blog post. Cohen pleaded guilty to several federal crimes and admitted that he had made a deal, on Trump's behalf, in which the Enquirer helped Trump's presidential bid by paying $150,000 USA to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal to buy and bury her story. The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said. "I'm glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing", Bezos wrote. "Also, The Post's essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles".

If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they'll publish the photos, and quickly. Bezos contends that his own investigation displeased the Enquirer brass. 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.

Sounds like soon some people at The National Enquirer are going to "learn to code".

"It's a shocking and frightening thing Mr. Bezos has revealed".

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