Jeff Bezos Says Tabloid Tried to Blackmail Him Over Dick Pics

Daniel Fowler
February 8, 2019

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. That same day, the National Enquirer touted that it would publish alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, whom he was said to be dating.

De Becker is now trying to find a way that federal prosecutors in Manhattan - where the non-prosecution agreement was signed - could investigate the text message scandal, the person familiar with the matter said, though it wasn't immediately clear what, if any, crime the prosecutors would be asked to look into.

Bezos declined to do so. (AMI) - which owns The National Enquirer - David Pecker, threatened to publish explicit photos of him and Sanchez.

Mr. Bezos wrote that this week, the tabloid's editor, Dylan Howard, e-mailed an attorney for Mr. Bezos's long-time security consultant to describe photos the Enquirer "obtained during our newsgathering". "I hope common sense can prevail - and quickly".

"Of course I don't want personal photos published, but I also won't participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption", Bezos wrote of AMI, in explaining his decision to go public.

Bezos, who owns more than $120 billion in Amazon stock, continued, "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

The post, which was linked from Bezos' Twitter account, was a remarkable escalation of a spat between the world's richest man and a tabloid known for its loyalty to the president of the United States.

However, Bezos said that "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've chose to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

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

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On Feb. 5, The Post reported that Bezos and de Becker suspected that the source of the text and photo leaks may have been Sanchez's brother, Michael, a California public relations executive who is close to Pecker and various figures in Trump's orbit, including former campaign advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page.

A Fox News request for comment from AMI was not immediately returned.

AMI, the company that owns the National Enquirer is now feeling the heat from Justice Department investigations into potential corruption related to AMI CEO David Pecker's close ties with Donald Trump and the Saudi government.

The Enquirer was also a major booster of Trump during the presidential campaign.

Mr Bezos said his ownership of the Washington Post was a "complexifier" for him because he had made enemies of "certain powerful people", including President Donald Trump, who is a friend of AMI's boss David Pecker.

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.

On Thursday, the 55-year-old penned an essay on Medium with claims about the company's alleged plan to publish what they allegedly referred to as his "d*ck picks", along with other scandalous shots of Bezos and Sanchez.

"It shows how complicated and risky it is to make an agreement with National Enquirer", Levenson said. "It's a shocking and frightening thing Mr. Bezos has revealed". Bezos made the accusations in a Medium post.

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