The National Enquirer committed neither extortion nor blackmail by threatening to publish intimate photos of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, an attorney for the head of the tabloid's parent company said Sunday. Elkan Abramowitz, an attorney for American Media Inc. chief executive David Pecker, said on Sunday a "reliable source" well-known to Bezos and his mistress provided the story about the billionaire's extramarital affair, the AP reports. Bezos has said AMI threatened to publish the explicit photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the Enquirer obtained his private exchanges with his mistress, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, and publicly declare that the Enquirer's coverage of him was not politically motivated. Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
During an interview with ABC's This Week, Abramowitz defended the tabloid's handling of the situation as part of a standard legal negotiation. "I think both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their interests," Abramowitz said. "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." Sources say Bezos' personal investigators have focused on Sanchez's brother. Michael Sanchez is his sister's manager, a Trump supporter, and an acquaintance of Trump allies Roger Stone and Carter Page. Abramowitz would not comment when asked whether Michael Sanchez was the Enquirer's source but said that "Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was." (Saudi Arabia says it had nothing to do with it, though Bezos has suggested otherwise.)