After weeks of seeing his private life flooded into the public, Jeff Bezos went online today to accuse Donald Trump’s pals at the National Enquirer of attempting to strong arm him with intimate photos, texts and an intent to ruin him with Amazon shareholders.
“Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here,” the world’s richest man and owner of the Washington Post wrote, regarding National Enquirer parent company American Media’s desire to shut down the investigation Bezos has started of how information about his marriage and other personal affairs became public knowledge.
“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake),” the Amazon founder wrote.
I’ve written a post about developments with the National Enquirer and its parent company, AMI. You can find it here: https://t.co/G1ykJAPPwy
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) February 7, 2019
Recounting that he’d been told American Media boss and Trump’s avowed “catch and kill” buddy David Pecker was “apoplectic” about the investigation into the leaked personal material, Bezos wrote of how proud he was to own the Washington Post and of the reporting it did – even if its probing journalism ruffled the likes of Trump and Pecker’s seemingly new pals the Saudi royal family. The latter of course are widely regarded to be behind the disappearance and brutal murder of contributing WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year in Turkey.
In a long and detailed blog post, the usually behind the boardroom Bezos also revealed how American Media has allegedly tried to force him to “capitulate to extortion and blackmail” in order to avoid further personal embarrassment and potential professional problems with his shareholders. Already having put investigator Gavin de Becker on the trail and brought Hollywood slugger Marty Singer on as his attorney, the WaPo owner flipped the script today and threw the matter up for all to see and judge.
“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,’ ” Bezos says, pulling back the curtain.
“If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly,” the billionaire declares. “And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.”
Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced earlier this year that they are divorcing in what now was clearly an effort to blunt that news and other details of their lives emerging in the Enquirer. Regardless, in the past few weeks the tabloid has had a near endless stream of salacious stories about the exec’s relationship with Lauren Sanchez, the estranged wife of WME co-chief Patrick Whitesell.
American Media did not respond to request for comment on Bezos’ accusations and revelations.
Back on January 13, the former Celebrity Apprentice host did openly play his hand and took to social media to crow about Bezos’ obviously uncomfortable stint in the scandal spotlight:
So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
With Bezos now playing open offense, Pecker and the Enquirer could find themselves embroiled in more investigation from law enforcement.
Late last year, as the legal net was tightening around former Trump wingman Michael Cohen, the feds revealed that American Media had provided “substantial and important assistance” to them in their investigations of possible misconduct in the 2016 election.
In what was seen at the time as an effective blowing up of the tabloid’s so-called “catch and kill” strategy to bury stores that could reflected badly on Trump, AMI and CEO Pecker were granted freedom criminal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for their role in paying off Playboy model Karen McDougal with $150,000 before the ballot box showdown with Hillary Clinton over two years ago.
Today’s revelations by Bezos may have inquiring minds at the U.S. Attorney’s office and more wanting to know.