Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Amazon's Jeff Bezos Claims He's Being Extorted by National Enquirer

Amazon's Jeff Bezos Claims He's Being Extorted by National Enquirer

Jeff Bezos blasted the National Enquirer, and its owner, David Pecker, in a shocking Medium post Thursday for attempting to blackmail the Amazon CEO and founder with a threat to publish his "d*ck pick [sic]" and nine other salacious photos obtained by the Enquirer.

After the tabloid published a story about his extramarital affair last month, Bezos ordered a team of private investigators to get to find out how the Enquirer obtained lurid texts between him and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Shortly after that, Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a longtime security consultant and former appointee of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Bezos declined to do so.

According to the emails, an attorney for AMI offered a formal deal Wednesday: The tabloid wouldn't post the photos if Bezos and his investigators would release a public statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis" to suggest the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

Bezos wrote that this week, the tabloid's editor, Dylan Howard, emailed an attorney for Bezos' longtime security consultant to describe photos the Enquirer "obtained during our newsgathering". Howard ends his email by saying, "It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail - and quickly".

"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?" he said.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", Bezos wrote.

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. Pecker directed the Enquirer to write favorable stories about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, while paying $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to suppress her claim of a long-running affair with Trump.

A spokesman for American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

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 co-operate with authorities. The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said.

Hours later, the first Enquirer story on his relationship with Sanchez posted online.

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

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

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