Read National Enquirer's response to Jeff Bezos's bombshell Medium post


A long-simmering feud between Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos took a freaky turn after the multibillionaire accused allies of the president of brazenly trying to extort him.

The high-profile clash has pitted the world's richest man against the leader of America's best-known tabloid, who is a strong backer of President Donald Trump.

Thirty years earlier, Richard Nixon ordered his Plumbers investigative unit to try to discredit Daniel Ellsberg in the press after he leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the Vietnam War.

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"American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr Bezos", the company said. Yes", Mariotti posted. "Is it consistent with some of the questionable practices that AMI engaged in on behalf of Trump and others? Yes.

He also pointed to reports that the Enquirer's publisher - American Media Inc. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out", he added.

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The Bezos affair became public when the Enquirer published a January 9 story about his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor who is also married.

In the blog post, Bezos pointed to AMI's CEO David Pecker's previous cooperation with Trump, including payments made to suppress negative stories, now under investigation by federal prosecutors.

-Gavin de Becker, head of Bezos' investigative team looking into how the CEO's private texts wound up in the Enquirer.

De Becker mentioned in a recent Daily Beast interview that "strong leads point to political motives" - and that he was interested in Lauren Sanchez's brother Michael, a vocal supporter of Trump with links to his inner circle, as a possible perpetrator. The people were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In a blogpost on Thursday, Bezos cited an email from AMI deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to a lawyer representing de Becker.

AMI later approached Bezos' representatives with an offer.

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Bezos wrote that this week, the tabloid's editor, Dylan Howard, emailed an attorney for Bezos' longtime security consultant to describe photos the Enquirer "obtained during our newsgathering".

· A full-length body selfie of Mr. Bezos wearing just a pair of tight black boxer-briefs or trunks, with his phone in his left hand-while wearing his wedding ring. When Bezos began to investigate how the National Enquirer came to obtain those messages, he said American Media threatened to release intimate photos of him and Sanchez unless he put a stop to the probe.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", Bezos wrote, "I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten". The tabloid says it has evidence that Bezos has been "whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet". The saga now threatens to snowball, exerting even more pressure on a billionaire who already oversees the biggest online retailer, a space exploration company and a leading national news outlet. Trump has a long history of a mutually beneficial relationship with AMI and Pecker. Pecker ensured that his publication only wrote favorable stories about Trump and the company also admitted to have paid $150,000 to a woman, who allegedly had an affair with Trump, as hush money so as not to impact the election. The company then intentionally suppressed the story until after the election.

The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing any crime, according to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY.

Bezos retained Gavin de Becker to investigate the revelation of his affair.

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