Jeff Bezos says that “top people” at the National Enquirer are trying to blackmail him by publishing photos that show the Amazon chief executive naked.
In a blog post published Thursday, Bezos said he was recently threatened with publication of intimate photos of him with Lauren Sanchez, a journalist Bezos has been linked with romantically. Bezos’ post includes email exchanges that he says proves an extortion plot against him.
“I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Bezos writes. “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”
Bezos notes that David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer American Media, recently struck an immunity deal with the Justice Department to reveal President Donald Trump’s role in hush agreements with women ahead of the 2016 US election.
In letters sent to Bezos, AMI threatened to publish the photos unless he made false statements that the company was never “politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” The National Enquirer was the first to print details of Bezos’ affair with Sanchez, which led to the dissolution of Bezos’ 25-year marriage to MacKenzie Bezos.
According to a threatening email sent to attorney of Gavin de Becker, a security specialist Bezos hired, the photos include “a naked selfie in a bathroom – while wearing a wedding ring” and a “glimpse” of Sanchez’s “nether region,” among others.
“Well, that [the email] got my attention. But not in the way they likely hoped. Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?,” Bezos writes. “In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: they will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we ‘have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.'”
AMI admitted in December to “working in concert” with the Trump campaign to pay off a woman who accused Trump of having an affair with her in order to quash the story.
Bezos has been frequent target of Trump, with the president widely seen as targeting the company because Bezos owns The Washington Post, which has reported critically on the president.Trump. In April 2018, Trump ordered an evaluation of the US Postal Service’s finances, after weeks of accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of postage.
Representatives for AMI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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