Jeff Bezos, The National Enquirer and all the blackmail details

Alex Rajakovich, Staff Reporter

Jeff Bezos, CEO and mastermind of Amazon and the world’s richest man, publicly announced on Twitter his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of 25 years, in early January. The decision came after a trial separation and a new romance between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a news anchor and helicopter pilot.

According to the joint statement made on Bezos’ Twitter, the couple are ending their marriage on amicable terms, reducing worry and uncertainty among investors in the increasingly valuable company.

In the midst of this story breaking, the National Enquirer published its own version of it, including some of the text messages sent between Bezos and Sanchez. The question of how they got the messages is currently under investigation; The Washington Post names  Sanchez’s brother as a possible source.

This investigation, however, is a point of contention with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. In a series of emails to Bezos’ legal team, AMI threatened that if Bezos did not end the investigation into the source of the text messages and make a statement against previous claims of political motives directing the Enquirer’s activities, that it would publish more of the couple’s texts as well as some revealing pictures sent between them.

The  emails stated, “Accordingly, we hereby demand that you cease and desist such defamatory conduct immediately. Any further dissemination of these false, vicious, speculative and unsubstantiated statements is done at your client’s peril.” These claims and this exchange of emails were made public by  Bezos in a post on Feb. 7 on the platform Medium.

According to The Associated Press, prosecutors are looking into whether the emails that Bezos shared on Medium show a violation in an agreement between him and AMI that was made to avoid prosecution for alleged campaign finance violations on the part of AMI.

This agreement only stands if the media company does not commit any crimes for three years.

In Bezos’ opinion, it is naive to believe that the National Enquirer is publishing this private information, and threatening to do more, simply for the sake of gossip. As reported by The New York Times, AMI’s chairman David Pecker has a well established relationship with President Donald Trump.

Federal prosecutors also assert that the Enquirer was used to help protect Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, burying damaging allegations including the arrangements of hush-money deals involving the former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Both women have claimed to have had affairs with  Trump.

Another troubling accusation made by Bezos and his legal team is that a relationship exists between AMI and Saudi Arabia. The New York Times notes that Bezos’ mention of the “Saudi angle” hitting a “particularly sensitive nerve” is not elaborated on, but there is a suggestion that Trump and AMI are working with the Saudis, who, in October 2018 were responsible for the assassination of Washington Post reporter and Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

The mention of Trump in Bezos’ blog post and accusations may seem random and unwarranted, but the president has made no secret in his disdain towards the fellow billionaire. In many tweets, Trump has spoken disparagingly about the Bezos-owned Washington Post and its coverage of him, as well as making personal attacks on Bezos.

One of Trump’s tweets that is directly relevant to this feud between Bezos and the Enquirer reads, “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!”

As Bezos includes in his blog post, AMI “emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise.”

Editor’s Note: Information from The Associated Press, The New York Times and Medium was used in this report.