Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer of photo blackmail

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer is threatening to publish revealing photographs of him unless his private investigators back off the tabloid. Bezos on Thursday said he directed de Becker to "prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to work on", and touted Amazon's business success.

"Something unusual happened to me yesterday".

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

In his post on Medium, Bezos called his ownership of The Post "a complexifier" for him.

Bezos wrote Thursday, "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".

After the tabloid published a story about his extramarital affair last month, Bezos ordered a team of private investigators to get to the bottom of how the Enquirer obtained risqué texts between the executive and former television anchor Lauren Sanchez. Bezos announced his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos in early January.

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AMI has not yet responded to the BBC's request for comment. Neither did a spokesperson for the Washington Post.

Bezos declined to do so.

Patrick Whitesell and Lauren Sanchez at the Los Angeles Premiere Of Warner Bros.

After the story ran, Mr. Bezos ordered his long-time security consultant, Gavin de Becker, to lead the probe into how the Enquirer obtained the lewd text messages. Sanchez, the Post reported, "firmly denies playing any role in the revelation of his sister's affair".

Representatives of AMI had no immediate comment on Thursday. AMI and its owner, David Pecker, have been accused of buying salacious stories about Donald Trump and killing them so they can't harm the president. "Dylan Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience", Bezos claims was stated in a letter sent to him from the Enquirer. The company "emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise", Fine wrote in an email to de Becker's lawyer, Martin Singer, which Bezos shared. In his introduction to his descriptions of the photos, Howard appeared to make reference to an upcoming Post article that quoted de Becker.

For dramatic purposes, it can't end any other way except with Bezos producing evidence that Trump himself put the Enquirer up to digging up dirt on him, as revenge for the Washington Post's negative coverage of POTUS. "Any further dissemination of these false, vicious, speculative and unsubstantiated statements is done at your client's peril". The supermarket tabloid's story included racy texts exchanged with Ms Sanchez, calling her Mr Bezos' mistress. "Mr. Pecker and his company have also been investigated for various actions they've taken on behalf of the Saudi Government".

"So what they have to be concerned about is the prosecutor saying, 'you've now committed blackmail, you've now committed extortion, we're going tear up that agreement and prosecute you the same way we prosecuted Michael Cohen for an illegal campaign contribution, '" he continued. AMI purchased the rights to the women's stories but never published them - a technique known as "catch and kill".

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