2019-02-11 21:15:221 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
This one is heating up and appears to be just the beginning and far from over. Jeff Bezos published correspondence showing that the National Enquirer and David Pecker, owner of parent company American Media Inc., had possession of sensitive photos and private correspondence of his that they promised to make public if he didn't go public and retract the Post's accusations of Pecker and the Enquirer.
But Pecker's attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, appeared on "This Week" on Sunday and told host George Stephanopoulos that the magazine's published piece on Bezos's affair with Lauren Sanchez was not "inspired by the White House, inspired by Saudi Arabia, or inspired by The Washington Post."
Bezos and wife MacKenzie announced they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. Following this, the Enquirer published an article that showed him and Sanchez having an obvious affair. Text messages between the two of them were included in the article.
The Washington Post owner and CEO and founder of Amazon, widely known as the richest man in the world, then reached out to an investigator, Gavin de Becker, to find the source of the stolen correspondence.
Late last week Bezos published some emails to an attorney for de Becker. One was sent from the chief content officer at AMI and included a listing of all the sensitive photos they had in their possession of Bezos and Sanchez. The email asked him to stop the investigation.
In his article Bezos mentioned Pecker's prior cooperation with Trump and AMI's connections to the Saudi Arabia kingdom. Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was working as a Washington Post columnist when he was killed.
Bezos explained that his attorneys told him that people own the copyright to their own photos, so AMI had no legal standing to publish them, unless they were newsworthy. AMI claims they are newsworthy.
A second email was received from AMI's legal team. In order for them not to publish the photos, they wanted a mutual agreement from Bezos published on a news outlet that affirmed that the Post had no knowledge to suggest AMI's coverage of him was politically motivated.
"It was not the White House. It was not Saudi Arabia. And the libel that was going out there slamming AMI was that this was all a political hatchet job sponsored by either a foreign nation or somebody politically in this country," he added.
It just all happens to fit within what is already known of Pecker's relationship with Donald Trump. He made "catch and kill" deals to buy damaging stories about the president before he was elected and made sure they weren't published.
This included Karen McDougal's story of her affair with Trump. AMI admitted to taking part in December as part of an immunity agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bezos' story has led these prosecutors to investigate if AMI violated the deal by allegedly blackmailing Bezos.
Abramowitz said on Sunday that the emails to Bezos are "not extortion and not blackmail," and that the Enquirer obtained the texts and photos through a source who was "somebody close" and "well known" to both of them.
"I think both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their differences. Bezos didn't want another story written about him or those pictures published," he added.
"AMI did not want to have the libel against them that this was inspired by the White House, inspired by Saudi Arabia, or inspired by The Washington Post. This had nothing to do with it. It was an unusual story that National Enquirer gets from reliable sources."
De Becker believes the source of the pictures and texts is Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez and a big Trump supporter, according to the Daily Beast."
"I can't discuss who the source was," Abramowitz said when asked if the brother was the source. "I'm not permitted to tell you or confirm or deny who the source is. I can tell you it's not Saudi Arabia, it's not President Trump, it's not Roger Stone. But I cannot tell you who the source is."
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