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Here is why Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and The Nationwide Enquirer’s mum or dad firm are in a public feud over allegations of blackmail and extortion.
USA TODAY

In response to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ pointed allegations of “extortion and blackmail,” the Nationwide Enquirer’s mum or dad firm American Media Inc. has responded that it “believes fervently that it acted lawfully within the reporting of the story” on Bezos’ relationship with former Los Angeles tv information anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Within the assertion launched Friday, AMI says that, at “the time of the current allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good religion negotiations to resolve all issues with him.”

Bezos blasted the corporate Thursday evening in a blog post on the Medium platform, sharing emails from AMI detailing an alleged extortion and blackmail attempt by the corporate if Bezos didn’t put out an announcement “affirming that they don’t have any data or foundation for suggesting that AM’s protection was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” The emails additionally demanded Bezos and his investigator agree that they might cease “referring to such a risk.” 

AMI claims within the electronic mail that it has quite a lot of intimate photographs of Bezos and Sanchez, together with a “beneath the belt selfie” of Bezos and an image of Sanchez “smoking a cigar in what seems to be a simulated oral intercourse scene.”

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The Nationwide Enquirer beforehand shared particulars of Bezos and Sanchez’s relationship, together with romantic textual content messages the 2 had despatched one another. The Enquirer posted the texts after Bezos’ introduced final month that he and his spouse, MacKenzie, could be getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage

The leak of those messages prompted Bezos to place Gavin de Becker from his safety staff on the case of investigating how the Enquirer bought a maintain of the messages. 

Along with alleging a blackmail try, Bezos additionally claims that AMI CEO David Pecker was “apoplectic” over an investigation The Washington Put up was performed into Pecker and AMI’s curiosity in increasing to Saudi Arabia, together with AMI’s publication of a pro-Saudi Arabia tabloid final yr forward of the arrival of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Bezos, on prime of being the founding father of Amazon and the world’s richest individual, owns The Washington Put up.

In his blistering publish, Bezos hyperlinks to a New York Times report that stated Trump invited Pecker to a White Home dinner wherein the AMI CEO introduced a visitor that the Instances describes as having “necessary ties to the royals in Saudi Arabia.”

“A number of days after listening to about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we had been approached, verbally at first, with a proposal,” Bezos wrote. “They stated that they had extra of my textual content messages and photographs that they might publish if we didn’t cease our investigation.”

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Pecker is a longtime ally of President Donald Trump. Trump has usually focused Bezos, Amazon and The Washington Put up on his Twitter feed, together with tweeting about all three topics days after the Nationwide Enquirer broke the information that Bezos was seeing Sanchez. 

Trump known as Bezos “Jeff Bozo” within the tweet, writing that he was “so sorry to listen to the information” about Bezos being “taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I perceive, is much extra correct than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Put up.” 

Federal prosecutors in New York have accused AMI of taking part in a scheme to assist Trump win the presidency by paying ladies to maintain silent about extramarital affairs he allegedly had with them earlier than the election. 

 

Whereas the corporate stands by its reporting, AMI does say that, “in gentle of the character of the allegations printed by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and decided that it ought to promptly and completely examine the claims.  Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take no matter applicable motion is important.”

AMI’s board consists of 4 members: Pecker, Evan Ratner, Barry Schwartz and David R. Hughes.

Contributing: Brad Heath

Observe Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

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