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Amazon's Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'

08 February 2019

Almost a month after the National Enquirer published a story about Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos' relationship with TV host Lauren Sanchez, Bezos has accused the outlet, its owner AMI and leader David Pecker of blackmail. Afterwards, Bezos says he hired investigator Gavin de Becker to look into how the publication got a hold of their private communications.

Bezos declined to do so.

In one e-mail that Mr Bezos disclosed, Mr Howard wrote that The Enquirer had obtained photos of Mr Bezos and Ms Sanchez as part of its "news-gathering".

His blog contained itemised details of 10 pictures in an email from the magazine's editor Dylan Howard, who said they had been "obtained during our newsgathering". "And if you don't do X quickly, I will report the embarrassing information". I can't tell if Bezos means to insinuate that he might be involved in this matter or not, as he points away from Trump in one spot by claiming that Pecker is reportedly most angry at the interest Bezos's investigators have taken in AMI's relationship with Saudi Arabia.

"If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion", he wrote, "how many people can?" The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said.

Representatives of AMI had no immediate comment on Thursday.

[.] Because of both [their] friendship and the money that Pecker saw could be made from promoting the Republican presidential candidate, Pecker used the "National Enquirer" as a forum for promoting Trump's campaign.

The correspondence between Bezos and AMI included legal jousting over the newsworthiness of graphic photos Bezos sent to Sanchez.

It's not clear how the Enquirer acquired the texts between Bezos and Sanchez.

Bezos, his newspaper and Amazon are all regular targets of Trump's signature Twitter tirades. It also said the photos were newsworthy, given Bezos' prominence.

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 company "emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise", Fine wrote in an email to de Becker's lawyer, Martin Singer, which Bezos shared.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer said reporters followed Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests". Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos accused the National Enquirer and its publisher David Pecker of extortion and blackmail, stepping up a war of words between the world's richest man and a confidant of U.S. President Donald Trump. "It's ripped right out of the law books".

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

Bezos usually stays out of the public eye, frequently delegating announcements and public Amazon business updates to his executives.

Amazon's Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'