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Enquirer Paid Mightily for the Bezos Texts: WSJ

American Media boss was outraged by upfront payment, sources say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2019 5:11 AM CDT
Updated Mar 19, 2019 6:37 AM CDT
This July 12, 2017 photo shows the cover of an issue of the National Enquirer featuring President Trump at a store in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
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(Newser) – The brother of Jeff Bezos' girlfriend provided the National Enquirer with racy texts the Amazon founder sent to Lauren Sanchez and was handsomely rewarded for doing so, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The insiders say David Pecker, CEO of Enquirer parent company American Media Inc. and an associate of President Trump, had reservations about the deal with Michael Sanchez but eventually approved a $200,000 payday, which is more than the tabloid usually pays sources. General counsel Cameron Stracher, however, ended up resigning on the spot during an angry lunch meeting with Pecker in which the CEO expressed outrage that Sanchez was being paid up front, the sources say.

The Enquirer generally doesn't pay sources until stories are published, and the Sanchez deal—which also made sure it wasn't a "catch and kill" situation—"reflected the significance American Media placed on Mr. Sanchez’s information," the Journal's sources say. Michael Sanchez, a talent agent with longstanding ties to the Enquirer, tells the Journal that its story is based on "old rumors." He declined to say whether he had provided the tabloid with photos of Bezos, but denied giving it "penis selfies." Private investigators working for Bezos determined earlier this year that Sanchez had leaked the texts, but they didn't disclose payment details, the AP reports. (Last month, Michael Sanchez described the Bezos affair as a "legendary romance.")

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