Amazon's Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer publisher of blackmail

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'extortion and blackmail'

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'extortion and blackmail'

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by the publisher of the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish revealing personal photos of him unless he stopped investigating its acquisition of other private images and messages and unless he declared its coverage wasn't politically motivated.

"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 in a post on Medium.

"They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn't stop our investigation", Bezos wrote in his blog post on Medium.com.

In exchange for the non-publication, Bezos would make a statement that he and Gavin de Becker, who led the investigation into whether The National Enquirer's coverage was politically motivated, and how they obtained Bezos' private information, had no basis for "suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

In another email dated February 6, Fine asked Bezos and his attorney to publicly refute the Post's reporting and announce "that they have no knowledge of basis for suggesting that American Media Inc.'s coverage was politically motivated of influencer by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility".

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has released emails he claimed to have received from United States tabloid The National Enquirer, in which the publication is shown to be extorting him.

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A spokesperson and an attorney for AMI did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Mr Bezos owns The Washington Post, which has relentlessly reported on the murder a year ago of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident.

In January, Bezos and his wife MacKenzie had announced that they were getting divorced.

In an email dated February 5, 2019, Jon Fine, the deputy general counsel of AMI, defends the Enquirer's reporting on Bezos' impending divorce, including the publication of "private photographs", and criticizes "continuing defamatory activities" by Bezos.

In Mr Bezos' post on Thursday, he also published several e-mails between Mr de Becker's lawyer, Mr Martin Singer, and AMI's lawyer, Mr Jon Fine, and chief content officer, Mr Dylan Howard. Do you see how much I like writing "Pecker"? Mr Trump has previously linked The Post and Amazon in critical Twitter posts, once declaring the "Fake Washington Post" a "lobbyist" for Amazon. All it would take is for, er, Donald Trump's DOJ to ride to Jeff Bezos's rescue. Howard ends his email by saying, "It would give no editor pleasure to send this email".

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".

In an April 2018 piece for The New Yorker, Farrow detailed the relationship between Pecker and Trump and said the magazine bought and buried stories to help his 2016 presidential campaign. They'd no longer be exclusively an embarrassment to Bezos, they'd be smoking-gun proof of the Enquirer's allegedly extortionate business practices.

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