Jeff Bezos Accuses Tabloid Of 'Extortion' Over 'Intimate Texts'

Images of Jessica Sanchez and Jeff Bezos were threatened to be released by AMI Bezos alleged

Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a blog post on Thursday claiming that the National Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc (AMI) tried to blackmail him with the publication of "intimate photos".

"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", Bezos wrote in a post on Medium.

It comes after the tabloid last month reported Bezos was in a relationship with former news anchor and entertainment reporter Lauren Sanchez - having accessed private text messages.

Mr Bezos, who has kept his personal life largely out of the public eye, said in his post that he had then quickly "engaged investigators to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by The Enquirer".

According to the e-mails, an attorney for AMI offered a formal deal Wednesday: The tabloid wouldn't post the photos if Mr. Bezos and his investigators would release a public statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis" to suggest the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

Mr. Bezos's investigators have suggested the Enquirer's coverage of his affair was politically motivated.

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

"I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer's arrangement with Trump fielded similar "stop digging or we'll ruin you" blackmail efforts from AMI", Farrow tweeted Thursday evening.

Bezos, who owns more than $120 billion in Amazon stock, said in his blog: "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

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Mr de Becker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bezos includes the emails from AMI in his Medium post. The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said. The Saudi crown prince was the subject of a flattering glossy magazine produced by AMI in 2016, at a time when the Saudi regime was attempting to portray Mohammed as a reformer in Middle Eastern politics.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer said reporters followed Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests". Bezos contends that his own investigation displeased the Enquirer brass.

The Enquirer has said that it obtained the texts and photos lawfully, and that it had the right to publish the material under the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law.

But as Bezos began to investigate the leak, the tabloid's parent disputed any suggestion that its story was politically motivated.

In addition to founding the world's largest e-commerce site, Bezos, is also the owner and benefactor of The Washington Post.

"Gavin de Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked", the reporter continued.

Sounds like soon some people at The National Enquirer are going to "learn to code".

It does not appear that AMI demanded any money from Bezos - only that he call off his investigation and issue a statement saying the coverage wasn't political.

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