Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer of 'blackmail'

Others point out that Bezos has been able to balance his responsibilities at the helm of the world’s largest online retailer while also juggling his other pursuits running a space exploration company and owning the Washington Post one of the nation

I am very excited for this new episode in our national drama, in which the world's richest man publicly accuses allies of the president of extorting him with private photos of his genitalia if he doesn't stop accusing them of politically driven hatchet jobs.

Bezos, Amazon.com Inc.'s chief executive officer, accused National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc of seeking to blackmail him with texts and photos, including a "below the belt selfie".

Earlier Friday, AMI said it "acted lawfully" while reporting the story and that it engaged in "good faith negotiations" with Bezos. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims.

Taking aim last month at Bezos, Trump alluded to Enquirer reporting of the billionaire´s relationship with the former news anchor and entertainment reporter, Lauren Sanchez.

Bezos says he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by American Media. In it, AMI proposed a public acknowledgment from Bezos and de Becker that "they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that (AMI's) coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

Bezos, however, chose to publish the correspondence rather than give in to those demands. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out". Muddying the situation further, Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has written critical stories about Trump.

Given Pecker's longtime friendship with President Trump, the Enquirer's role in "catching and killing" stories to help Trump, and and Bezos's presence on Trump's enemies list, many commentators have speculated about a potential Trump connection in this case - but it is just speculation.

This charge makes me wonder if Pecker isn't America's answer to Rupert Murdoch, whose British tabloids were famous for hacking Britons' telephone messages and then blackmailing or smearing them with the stolen material. When Bezos aired a Super Bowl ad promoting the newspaper on Sunday, one of Trump's sons, Donald Trump Jr., called it an attempt for "undeserved credibility". While his lawyers argued that AMI had no right to publish the photos since Bezos himself holds the rights over themand that they were not newsworthy, AMI claimed the newsworthiness was that the photos would show the shareholders of Amazon that Bezos had bad business judgment.

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The accusations of blackmail could complicate a related legal matter involving the National Enquirer's actions during the 2016 United States elections.

Though the other journalist Farrow mentioned about in his tweet didn't speak yet, several other journalists had in the past said that they too were threatened by the National Enquirer for investigating the tabloid. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment other than to confirm that Bezos wrote the post.

However, in the interests of expediating 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.

"They have begun to believe, the Bezos camp, that this publication by the National Enquirer might have been politically motivated", said Roig-Franzia.

It doesn't really matter, at this point, what AMI believes because, as expected, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) are closely examining what happened here.

When Bezos didn't immediately respond, AMI put their threats in writing.

Bezos's blog mentioned AMI and Pecker's previous cooperation with Trump, including payments made to suppress negative stories, now under investigation by federal prosecutors. They'd no longer be exclusively an embarrassment to Bezos, they'd be smoking-gun proof of the Enquirer's allegedly extortionate business practices.

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