MIAMI (CBSMiami) – CBS News has learned that researchers hired by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, have now transferred their findings to the police and judiciary.
They try to find out how the National Enquirer obtained private photos and messages from Bezos.
Last week, the billionaire claimed that the Enquirer had explicit images and tried to blackmail him.
That came weeks after the gossip was revealed that Bezos, a graduate of Palmetto secondary school in Miami, had an affair with former TV presenter Lauren Sanchez. Errol Barnett has the story from New York.
On Sunday, Elkan Abramowitz, the lawyer of the National Enquirer's parent company, stopped revealing the source of the leaks.
"I'm not going to answer who the source was," he said. & # 39; It was someone close to Bezos and Mrs. Sanchez. & # 39;
But a source in the neighborhood of Jeff Bezos & private investigators tells CBS News that they have conducted multiple interviews with Michael Sanchez, the brother of the girlfriend of Bezos.
They say that Sanchez, a Donald Trump supporter, discussed the issue with Roger Stone and Carter Page, two of Trump's faithful defenders.
Contacted by CBS News, a person near Michael Sanchez rejected allegations of his involvement as "sloppy leaks and crazy conservative conspiracy theories."
CBS News law enforcement analyst Paul Viollis thinks that someone who entrusted Lauren Sanchez was probably weaker.
"If I were to carry out the research, I would start with Miss Sanchez," Viollis said. "The biggest chance of risk here – where this leak came from – would be Sanchez, whether it was her brother, whether it was a friend or if it was someone."
In e-mails issued by Bezos last week, Enquirer employees claim that they have "a naked selfie" and other immoral pictures from Bezos.
They offered not to publish the photos if the CEO of Amazon broke off his investigation.
"I hope that common sense has the upper hand – and fast," said an e-mail.
Abramowitz says that the gossip press wanted Bezos to stop falsely claiming that the coverage of his case was politically motivated.
He also denied that the explicit photos were part of a blackmail plot.
"It was part of a legitimate negotiation," Abramowitz said. "Every side had something they wanted."
Bezos and the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post, are set goals of President Donald Trump. The National Enquirer is published by David Pecker, another ally of the trump card.
On Friday the white house took distance from the president of the controversy.
"We are not discussing anything between Jeff Bezos and a tabloid magazine," said Hogan Gidley, vice president of the White House.
Bezos's blackmail claims are now being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York, who last year granted the immunity of the National Enquirer in a separate investigation into hush money payments for the alleged cases of Trump.
They could withdraw that immunity if they determine that the claimant has violated the law.
A lawyer from the parent company of the Enquirer says that it is the real victim of the & # 39; slanderous & # 39; claims of Bezos.
But Bezos and his team of researchers say that it was all part of an extortion plot and that it scored a possible weaker score on Sanchez's brother … although he refused.
They believe that political motivation is a likely factor.