Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer of photo blackmail

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

Following news of the Amazon CEO's relationship with Lauren Sanchez, and rumors of infidelity, Bezos is speaking out about allegedly being extorted and blackmailed by the National Enquirer and its owner American Media Inc.

Ronan Farrow said Thursday that he and "at least one other prominent journalist" who had reported on the National Enquirer and President Trump received blackmail threats from the tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc., over their work. Since then, there's been a public relations battle.

Mr de Becker proceeded to tell the media that the leak was politically motivated, which, according to Mr Bezos's blog post on Thursday, concerned AMI. 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. (AMI) on Thursday evening in an extraordinary Medium post under the title, "No thank you, Mr. Pecker", a reference to David Pecker, AMI's owner. Federal prosecutors in December reached an agreement with AMI that they would not prosecute the company for its role in attempting to influence the election if it cooperated and admitted to paying off the woman.

In his blog, Bezos cited an email from AMI deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to a lawyer representing de Becker.

Mr Bezos, his newspaper and Amazon are all regular targets of Mr Trump's signature Twitter tirades.

Bezos says that the Enquirer is threatening to publish even more embarrassing photos of him if he doesn't put a stop to an investigation now underway by a private investigator hired by Bezos.

".In the interests of expediating [sic] this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer's initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering", Howard wrote.

The feud between Bezos and the National Enquirer started last month, when the tabloid first published photos showing Bezos with Sanchez, which were supposedly taken before the Amazon CEO filed for a divorce from his wife.

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However, Bezos said that "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".

AMI did not immediately return a request for comment. The story carries the bylines of Mr. Howard and two reporters.

Since then, Mr Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a public safety expert and special appointee of former United States president Ronald Reagan.

· A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand - while wearing his wedding ring.

Fine was known to attend events at Seattle's Hugo House and was responsible for doling out Amazon donations to literary arts groups, according to a person familiar with the local scene. "In a tweet, he said de Becker "spreads fake, unhinged conservative conspiracy theories" and "'dog whistle' smears".

Chatham said previous year that it had been an investor in AMI since 2010 and had "no involvement in the editorial process or the day-to-day business decisions of the company".

AMI's agreement to co-operate with federal authorities means it will not face criminal charges over the payments, Manhattan prosecutors announced in December.

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