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Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Blackmail, Extortion

09 February 2019

Jeff Bezos implicitly charged Thursday that the National Enquirer's story exposing his affair with TV anchor Lauren Sanchez was a political hit job.

-Gavin de Becker, head of Bezos' investigative team looking into how the CEO's private texts wound up in the Enquirer.

Bezos, in his blog post, alleges that Howard threatened to publish intimate photos if the Amazon founder didn't cease his investigation and make a statement that AMI's coverage wasn't politically motivated.

American Media said in a statement on Friday morning that the company "believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos".

Investigative journalist Ted Bridis said on Twitter Thursday that Associated Press reporters working on the Trump-National Enquirer story had been warned that AMI private investigators were digging into their backgrounds, though he "never saw evidence of this" and it didn't affect his reporting.

"Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him", the company said.

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American Media says its board of directors ordered a prompt and thorough investigation.

Mr Bezos has been the target of criticism from U.S. president Donald Trump over the Post's critical coverage of the White House, and AMI has admitted that it engaged in what is known as "catch-and-kill" practices to help Trump become president. Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos announced they were separating just ahead of the publication of the report.

CNN Business has reached out to AMI for comment regarding Farrow's claim.

"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.

"So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post", he tweeted.

The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing any crime, according to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY.

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"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 said in explaining his decision to go public.

Jeff Bezos pre-empting the National Enquirer by laying bare embarrassing personal details may have been the easier task. He also said he had recommended his sister fire Mr de Becker.

The thesis of the article, as revealed in the headline, was a simple and straightforward one: "If AMI's Jeff Bezos Shakedown Was Criminal, They Can Kiss Their Non-Prosecution Agreement Goodbye".

According to messages shared by Bezos in a blog post, AMI offered to not publish the material if he agreed to back off an investigation of the newspaper company.

'As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election, ' NY officials said a year ago. But he also threatens to publish the photos if Bezos and his associates breach the agreement.

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the allegations potentially put prosecutors in an awkward position because of the deal they had already cut with AMI.

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Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Blackmail, Extortion