The National Enquirer’s Lawyer Denies of Extortion from Bezos
As per the attorney of The National Enquirer’s CEO, the tabloid has neither extorted nor blackmailed Amazon chief, Jeff Bezos by threatening to publish intimate photos with his alleged mistress.
Elkan Abromowitz, an attorney for American Media Inc. chief executive David Pecker, said on Sunday that the information had been fetched from a reliable source known to both Jeff Bezos and his mistress, who provided the story about the billionaire’s extramarital affair.
Bezos previously has alleged American Media Inc. of threatening to publish the explicit photos of him if he did not stop the investigating how the Enquirer obtained his private exchanges with his mistress, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, and publicly declare that the Enquirer’s coverage of him was not done with political motivation. It should be noted here that Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.
As per Bezos’ investigators, The Enquirer’s coverage of his personal affairs is politically motivated, and it factors dirty politics and the high-profile clash between the world’s richest man and America’s best-known tabloid. The National Enquirer is known as a strong backer of President Donald Trump. And President Trump has been critically vocal of Bezos over his ownership of The Washington Post and Amazon, and the Post’s coverage of the White House.
As per the reports, federal prosecutors are looking into whether the Enquirer had violated a cooperation and non-prosecution agreement that recently spared the gossip sheet from charges for paying hush money to a Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Trump before 2016 elections, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Friday. The sources, however, were not authorized to speak about the matter, so they spoke with the condition of anonymity.
But when he was asked on an interview whether he was concerned the Bezos matter could jeopardize the non-cooperation agreement, he replied, “Absolutely not.”
Abramowitz defended The Enquirer’s managing of the situation as a part of legal negotiations.
Abramowitz said, “I think both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their interests, it’s absolutely not a crime to ask somebody to simply tell the truth. Tell the truth that this was not politically motivated, and we will print no more stories.”
Bezos’ extramarital affair became public when the tabloid published a story on January 9 stating his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, who is also married. The story appeared just after Bezos declared on Twitter of his plan to divorce. Then Bezos hired a team of private investigators to find out how the tabloid got the texts and photos the two exchanged.
Bezos’ personal investigators are led by his security consultant Gavin de Becker. The team has focused on Sanchez’s brother, according to a person familiar with the matter. Michael Sanchez is his sister’s manager who reportedly is a Trump supporter and a close friend of Trump allies Roger Stone and Carter Page.
Abramowitz denied to comment on the source but said both Bezos and Ms. Sanchez was aware of the source.
Michael Sanchez also has declined the request to speak to media. He said de Becker “spreads fake, unhinged conservative conspiracy theories” without any evidence.
In his recent blog post, Bezos also alleged a possible relationship between AMI and Saudi Arabia. However, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of the state of foreign affairs, said he had no idea about such relationship and denied the kingdom played any role in AMI publishing negative stories about Bezos.
It should be noted that last year, AMI published a glossy magazine that included 97 pages saluting Saudi Arabia, just before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s arrival in the U.S. on public relation effort to change his country’s image.
Al-Jubeir said of Bezos’ allegations, “It’s like a soap opera.”
When asked about AMI’s recent $450 million debt restructuring, Abramowitz said, nothing has been received from the Kingdom. He agreed that the company has sought finance from Saudi Arabia but never received from there.
After Bezos’ allegation over a blog post, many celebrities also revealed that they had been threatened by AMI. Ronan Farrow said he and “and at least one other prominent journalist” involved in reporting on the tabloid had “fielded similar ‘stop digging, or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI,” and actor Terry Crews alleged the company tried to “silence him” by “fabricating stories of me with prostitutes.”
Abramowitz said he is not aware of any employees of AMI blackmailing celebrities or journalists.
In recent months, the Trump-friendly tabloid admitted of providing secret assistance Trump’s White House campaign by paying $150,000 to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal for the rights of her story about an alleged affair with President Trump. The company halted the story until the end of the 2016 elections.
Trump’s long-time personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last year to the allegations of helping to broker the transaction.
AMI promised not to break the law as a non-prosecution agreement is in place in this case. As per the deal top executives, including Pecker and the Enquirer’s editor, Dylan Howard, would have to cooperate with federal prosecutors. A violation of the agreement would lead to criminal prosecution.