Lawyer for National Enquirer’s David Pecker denies Bezos’ blackmail accusations

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By Daniella Silva

The attorney for the CEO of American Media Inc. denied Sunday that the company sought to blackmail Jeff Bezos after the Amazon founder accused it of “extortion” for threatening to publish intimate photos of him and his girlfriend.

“It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail,” said Elkan Abramowitz, attorney for AMI CEO David Pecker, on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

On Thursday, Bezos accused AMI, the parent-company of the National Enquirer, of “extortion and blackmail” in a bombshell post on the blogging site Medium.

Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, wrote that AMI demanded that he stop the newspaper from reporting on alleged political motivations behind the National Enquirer’s initial stories about his relationship with his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. Bezos also wrote that AMI asked him to publish a “false public statement” saying he had no knowledge or basis to believe their coverage was politically motivated. In exchange, the company said it would refrain from publishing the intimate photos, according to Bezos.

Abramowitz said Sunday “the story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source” that had given information to the tabloid for seven years.

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“It was a source that was well-known to both to Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez,” he said.

When asked if Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend, was the source of the couple’s private messages, he said, “I can’t discuss who the source was.” The Daily Beast reported that Bezos’ security team is looking into Michael Sanchez as a potential source of the couple’s messages to the tabloid.

Michael Sanchez denied to The Washington Post that he had any involvement in revealing his sister’s relationship with Bezos. Sanchez told the newspaper he was told by multiple people at AMI that the tabloid had set out to do a “takedown to make Trump happy.” Abramowitz denied that claim on Sunday.

According to the emails that Bezos published, which have not been independently reviewed by NBC News, AMI threatened to publish texts from Bezos and his girlfriend that included photos of a sexual nature.

“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” Bezos wrote on Medium.

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