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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Stunning and lurid accusations coming straight from the world’s richest person.
On Thursday, Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos posted a blog on Medium.com, calling out the publisher of the National Enquirer for blackmail and extortion.
In January, the tabloid published photos and private messages involving Jeff Bezos and his affair with former news anchor Lauren Sanchez.
Bezos launched an investigation into how the tabloid obtained those and also said he felt their coverage of his affair was politically motivated.
Bezos shares emails in which he says American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, demanded he back off the investigation and publicly back what he said. Otherwise, they would publish more private photos, these of which are graphic and intimate.
“Bezos, the richest man in the world, clearly has turned this thing upside down,” said Guy Lewis, former US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “He’s become the aggressor. Normally, he would be the victim.”
The emails Bezos said are between AMI executives and his lawyers include descriptions of the photos they have obtained, even a ‘below the belt selfie.’
Bezos acknowledged that since he has purchased The Washington Post, he has made enemies with some very powerful people, including President Trump.
Launching an investigation, Bezos feels, fired up David Pecker, CEO of AMI, who approached Bezos with what he called blackmail and extortion.
“In this case with Bezos and what I’ve read, I think there is definitely more than mere allegations of extortions,” said Lewis. “I think there was a crime committed here.”
Bezos made it clear in his post that he doesn’t believe the photos in question are newsworthy. Lewis agreed.
“They got to come say look there was a legitimate beef, there was a potential lawsuit that existed between AMI and Bezos. And that was a real legitimate lawsuit and all we were doing was trying to settle that lawsuit before it began,” said Lewis.”Now the problem with that though is how are the pictures a part of dispute between AMI and Bezos? Well they’re not and that’s where they’re going to run into trouble.”
In his post, Bezos brings AMI’s claims that the photos are newsworthy to show Amazon stakeholders that his business judgement is off. Bezos’ response? The success of Amazon after starting it in his garage 24 years ago when he personally drove packages to the post office…should speak for itself.