An lawyer representing David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media Inc., claimed the media company’s threat to publish nude photos of Amazon head Jeff Bezos if he didn’t cooperate with its phrases was not blackmail.
“It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail,” Elkan Abramowitz, Pecker’s lawyer, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
Last month, Bezos and his spouse, MacKenzie Bezos, introduced their divorce shortly earlier than the National Enquirer, owned by AMI, printed a narrative revealing that the billionaire was having an affair with Lauren Sanchez, a TV character.
The Enquirer story prompted Bezos to launch an investigation into AMI’s practices, together with the way it obtained his personal textual content messages with Sanchez and its motive for publishing the story about his affair.
Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, has steered AMI might have been politically motivated to out his affair. President Donald Trump, a good friend of Pecker’s, frequently lashes out at The Washington Post’s protection of his presidency.
Among different issues, the Post has referred to as out Trump for sustaining a relationship with Saudi Arabia regardless of the CIA’s perception that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the homicide of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a stunning blog post printed Thursday on Medium, Bezos alleged AMI Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard advised him the corporate had obtained a number of revealing pictures of Bezos and Sanchez and that it was contemplating publishing them if he didn’t drop the investigation.
“Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is ‘apoplectic’ about our investigation,” Bezos wrote within the weblog submit. “For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
AMI issued an announcement Friday morning saying it launched an investigation into Bezos’ claims, although the corporate believes it “acted lawfully.”
“At the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him,” the assertion mentioned. “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.”
In an interview with the Post published Tuesday, Gavin de Becker, Bezos’ investigator, steered that Sanchez’s Trump-supporting brother, Michael Sanchez, might have leaked textual content messages between his sister and Bezos to the Enquirer as a “politically motivated” ploy to embarrass Bezos.
On Sunday, Pecker’s lawyer Abramowitz wouldn’t verify whether or not Sanchez’s brother was the supply of the texts and pictures, however claimed neither Trump nor Saudi Arabia was behind it. He referred to the obvious try to blackmail Bezos as merely a “negotiation.”
“It’s absolutely not a crime to ask somebody to simply tell the truth ― tell the truth that this was not politically motivated and we will print no more stories about it,” Abramowitz advised ABC. “It’s part of a negotiation.”
Host George Stephanopoulos fired again, “How is that journalism if you believe the photos are newsworthy? How is it journalism to say we’re not going to publish this if you give us something that we want?”
Abramowitz responded that “the story was out there.”
“There may be a different argument if we were talking about prior to the first publication, where hypothetically someone could say, ‘You give me a million dollars and we don’t publish this,’” he mentioned. “That’s not what this is.”