National Enquirer owner says it ‘acted lawfully’ toward Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Bezos claims extortion blackmail from National Enquirer

Bezos accused the National Enquirer publisher of extortion.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY are reviewing the conduct of the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media, Inc., after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos alleged Thursday that the tabloid attempted to blackmail and extort him by threatening to publish his nude selfies, according to Bloomberg.

The tabloid labelled it "the biggest investigation in Enquirer history".

A digest of the top political stories from the Globe, sent to your inbox Monday-Friday.

After the explosive Medium post Thursday by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos blasting the National Enquirer and parent company AMI, as well as chairman and CEO David Pecker, the board (which includes Pecker) has issued a response.

"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", Bezos wrote in an extraordinary blog post he published on Medium, which includes what he says is the text of emails from AMI execs spelling out their demands. After all, AMI has helped Trump in the past.

"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Amazon's CEO writes.

David Pecker is the CEO of American Media, Inc.

"When I see allegations like that, the first question I have is, did they reach out to the DOJ, did they ask for an investigation from any USA government entity before they made their public claims", Eddington added.

In a stunning blog post on Thursday, Mr Bezos posted an email he said had been sent to his intermediaries by AMI's representatives threatening to publish "intimate photos" of Mr Bezos and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.

In return for such an acknowledgment, according to the email, AMI offered "not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos", Bezos said.

De Becker mentioned in a recent Daily Beast interview that "strong leads point to political motives" - and that he was interested in Lauren Sanchez's brother Michael, a vocal supporter of Trump with links to his inner circle, as a possible perpetrator.

Barcelona-Real Madrid combined XI
Asked about the fitness of Messi, he said: "It's always better when the best players get to play, it's as simple as that". In view of their recent form, the Real Madrid players regain confidence in their chances of winning the historic treble.

A person familiar with the National Enquirer's operation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNN Business that there were indeed similar situations between the National Enquirer and other individuals.

Mr De Becker said the leak was politically motivated. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigated the claims.

So Bezos dispatched his private security chief to find out exactly how his phone was hacked, and how photos and texts were obtained.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", Bezos said, "I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

The Associated Press has also confirmed Bloomberg's report.

Bezos, the world's richest man, and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. The story carries the bylines of Howard and two reporters.

This has been the focus of Mr Bezos' private investigators. He even posted the emails he received from the company to prove it. Trump has a long history of a mutually beneficial relationship with AMI and Pecker.

AMI acknowledged secretly assisting Trump's campaign by paying $150,000 to a Playboy model for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with the then-candidate.

Last year Pecker and AMI struck an immunity deal with federal prosecutors in exchange for cooperation in the Michael Cohen case.

Fine and de Becker could not immediately be reached for comment.

It is a federal crime to threaten to injure someone's reputation in exchange for money or a "thing of value, " though federal courts haven't made it directly clear whether a public statement, like the one demanded by AMI, could be considered something of value. He wrote, AMI threatened to ruin them if they did not stoptheir investigation.

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

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