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10 February 2019, 18:19 GMT
By Daniella Silva
The lawyer of the CEO of American Media Inc. Sunday denied that the company tried to blackmail Jeff Bezos after the Amazon founder accused of extortion & # 39; because he threatened to publish intimate photos of him and his girlfriend.
"It is absolutely no extortion and no blackmail," said Elkan Abramowitz, lawyer for AMI CEO David Pecker, on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
On Thursday, Bezos AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, accused of "extortion and blackmail" in a bompost on the blog site Medium.
Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, wrote that AMI demanded that he stop the paper reporting on alleged political motives behind the National Inquirer's first stories about his relationship with his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. Bezos also wrote that AMI asked him to publish a "false public statement" stating that he had no knowledge or basis to believe that their message was politically motivated. In exchange, the company said it would refrain from publishing the intimate photos, says Bezos.
Abramowitz said on Sunday: "The story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source," which had given information to the tabloid press for seven years.
"It was a source that was known to both Mr Bezos and Mrs. Sanchez," he said.
When asked whether Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos's girlfriend, was the source of the private messages of the couple, he said: "I can not discuss who the source was." The Daily Beast reported that the security team from Bezos to Michael looked Sanchez as a potential source of messages from the couple to the tabloid press.
Michael Sanchez denied The Washington Post that he had some involvement in revealing his sister's relationship with Bezos. Sanchez told the newspaper that he was told by several people at AMI that the gossip press had prepared themselves for a "takedown to make Trump happy". Abramowitz denied that claim on Sunday.
According to the e-mails that Bezos published, which were not independently assessed by NBC News, AMI threatened to publish texts by Bezos and his girlfriend with photos of a sexual nature.
"If in my position I can not stand up to such a form of extortion, how many people can that be?" Bezos wrote on Medium.
AMI said earlier that it would investigate the accusations of Bezos, but that it believes that the company "acted lawfully".
Pecker, the CEO of AMI, is known as friends with President Donald Trump and has been accused of buying controversial stories about Trump to keep them of being published. The president has also repeatedly played in The Washington Post for his coverage of the ongoing investigations into his campaign and presidency.
I regret to hear the news that Jeff Bozo has been knocked down by a competitor whose report, I understand, is much more accurate than the coverage in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better and more responsible hands!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
In his job Bezos quoted that Pecker had received immunity from federal prosecutors in their investigation of Michael Toho lawyer Michael Cohen about hush-money payments to women prior to the 2016 presidential election. Bezos also wrote that AMI was "investigated for various actions they have taken on behalf of the Saudi government".
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether AMI has violated its non-prosecution agreement as a result of Bezos' behavior, according to a source familiar with the case.
Abramowitz said Sunday that the e-mail exchanges between AMI and Bezos did not amount to blackmail because "both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their differences."
"Bezos did not want another story to be written about him or that those photos were published and AMI did not want the reproach against them that this was inspired by the White House, inspired by Saudi Arabia, or inspired by the Washington Post, "he said. .
"Everything that AMI wanted was the truth," he said. "Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was, a researcher who was going to investigate this knew who the source was."
Bezos is since last month at the center of a very famous separation of his wife, Mackenzie Bezos. The National Enquirer has since published articles claiming that Bezos was in a relationship with Sanchez, a former TV anchor, including some with text messages.
The Daily Beast reported that Bezos had conducted an investigation into how the gossip magazine acquired these texts and last week the Post reported that the investigation he had launched had found reasons to believe that the leak was politically motivated.
Abramowitz said it was "not a crime to ask someone to simply tell the truth."
"Tell the truth that this was not politically motivated and we will not print stories about it," he said.
The lawyer added that although he could not reveal the source of information about Bezos, the source was "not Saudi Arabia, it is not President Trump, it is not Roger Stone".
Because Bezos accused AMI of blackmail, several prominent names in journalism and a Hollywood star claimed that the gossip traveler had tried to intimidate and threaten them.