AMI Promises to ‘Promptly and Thoroughly Investigate’ Jeff Bezos Accusations

Ann Santiago
February 9, 2019

Journalist Ronan Farrow said tabloid publisher American Media Inc. sent him blackmail threats over his reporting on President Donald Trump and the National Enquirer.

"The National Enquirer has been doggedly investigating this story for four months and the extraordinary details and evidence uncovered by our team, and presented to Mr. Bezos' representatives for comment early this week, underscores the kind of investigative reporting that the publication has always been known for", a spokesman says.

Mr Bezos said his ownership of the Washington Post was a "complexifier" for him because he had made enemies of "certain powerful people", including President Donald Trump, who is a friend of AMI's boss David Pecker. 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 investigated the claims.

"Upon completion of that investigation, the board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary".

The first whiff of controversy came January 9 when Bezos posted a statement on Twitter, signed by him and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announcing plans to divorce.

For their part, AMI responded with a statement on Friday, as CNBC reports.

Jeff Bezos Prefers to "stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out".

Trump has been very upset with the coverage of his presidency by The Washington Post - as he has been with many other media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN - and has attacked it saying, among other things, it has become a vehicle to further Bezos's business interests.

The agreement with NY prosecutors required AMI to commit no further crimes for at least three years, but the company's alleged threat to Bezos could be interpreted as a breach, potentially opening it to prosecution.

Bezos said he made a decision to publish the emails sent to his team "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, " despite the "personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

"But after The National Enquirer published details of Bezos" love affair, the Amazon CEO managed to elicit some sympathy from Trump.

Furthermore, Bezos went on to include an email sent by AMI's deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to de Becker's attorney.

Bezos's suggestion is apparently based on his investigator de Becker's belief that the text messages were obtained not by a private entity hacking his or Sanchez's phones, but by a "government entity" accessing their texting records-presumably, the Saudis. Bezos then hired a team of private investigators to find out how the tabloid got the texts and photos the two exchanged.

'As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election, ' NY officials said a year ago. The tabloid says it has evidence that Bezos has been "whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet".

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer said reporters followed Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests". He did, however, post something after the initial National Enquirer story posted last month, calling Bezos "Jeff Bozo" and arguing that the tabloid was a more accurate source of news than the Washington Post. Bezos said the Enquirer did not demand money.

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