Jeff Bezos accuses Donald Trump-ally AMI of extortion

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Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is "apoplectic" about our investigation.

More than 12 hours after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted a wild story in which he claimed to be the victim of an extortion scheme by the National Enquirer, the tabloid's parent company has finally released a response.

American Media Inc said in a statement issued today it "acted lawfully" while reporting the story. After all, AMI has helped Trump in the past.

Mr Bezos notes in his blog post how the publisher confessed to the so-called "catch and kill" deal to bury Karen McDougal's politically embarrassing story.

Mr Bezos said the statement AMI was proposing was false and described the offer as an "extortionate proposal".

"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 US government entity before they made their public claims", Eddington added.

"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 wrote in the blog post titled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker" published on Medium. Instead, they've been focusing on Sanchez's brother, according to a person familiar with the matter. The people were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

AMI responded that it was allowed to publish the photos out of a public interest, since "millions of Americans have a vested interest in the success of Amazon".

Bezos doesn't flat-out say that the Enquirer's piece was politically motivated. Meanwhile, David Pecker, AMI's chairman, has always been accused of using the Enquirer for political purposes, Bezos said.

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Furthermore, Bezos went on to include an email sent by AMI's deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to de Becker's attorney.

Mr Bezos' own investigator had, he claimed, suggested earlier that there were indeed "strong leads" to suspect political reasons.

So Bezos dispatched his private security chief to find out exactly how his phone was hacked, and how photos and texts were obtained. According to Bezos' account, American Media was so troubled by de Becker's probe and his public comments about it - and his conclusion that the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated" - that it tried to shut up Bezos and de Becker.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", Bezos wrote, "I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

The Associated Press has also confirmed Bloomberg's report. When the Enquirer was about to reveal the existence of the relationship last month, Bezos and his wife, author MacKenzie Bezos, announced that they were divorcing "after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation". The story carries the bylines of Howard and two reporters. The tabloid says it has evidence that Bezos has been "whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet".

United States media report that Mr Sanchez knows AMI's David Pecker - as well as other people with links to Mr Trump including his former campaign aides Carter Page and Roger Stone.

The company acknowledged it had paid $150,000 to keep McDougal's story out of the headlines before the 2016 presidential election.

In a deal announced with federal prosecutors late past year, AMI said it would cooperate with those prosecutors. Interestingly, Sanchez is now a subject of the investigation being conducted by de Becker.