A lawyer representing David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media Inc., claimed that the media firm's threat of publishing naked images of the Amazon head Jeff Bezos, if he did not cooperate with the terms, was not extortion.
"That Absolutely is not extortion and not extortion," Elkan Abramowitz, Pecker's lawyer, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
Last month, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced their divorce card before the National Enquirer, owned by AMI, released a story that showed that the billionaire had an affair with Lauren Sanchez, a TV pe rsonality.
The Enquirer story asked Bezos to launch an investigation of AMI's practice, including how it received its private text messages with Sanchez and its motive for publishing the story of his affair.
Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, has suggested that AMI may have been politically motivated to rule out his affair. President Donald Trump, a friend of Pecker, regularly spins on The Washington Post's coverage of his presidency.
Posten has, among other things, called out Trump to maintain a relationship with Saudi Arabia despite the CIA's belief that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the murder of his columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
in a fantastic blog post published Thursday on medium, bezo's alleged AMI Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard told him that the company had received several revealing images of bezos and sanchez and that it was considered publishing them if he did not drop the investigation.
"Several days ago, an AMI leader informed us that Mr. Pecker is" apoplectic "about our investigation," wrote Bezos in the blog post. "For reasons to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve."
AMI released a statement on Friday morning saying it launched a survey of Bezo's claims, even though the company believes it "acted legally".
"At the time of the last allegations of Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all issues with him," the statement said. "However, in light of the nature of the allegations issued by Mr. Bezos, the board has summoned and determined that it should immediately investigate the allegations."
In an interview with the post Published Tuesday, Gavin de Becker, Bezos & # 39; investigator suggested that Sanchez Trump supporting brother, Michael Sanchez, may have leaked text messages between his sister and Bezos to Enquirer as a "politically motivated" trick to shame Bezos.
On Sunday, Pecker's lawyer Abramowitz would not confirm whether Sanchez's brother was the source of the text and images, but claimed that neither Trump nor Saudi Arabia was behind it. He referred to the apparent attempt to challenge Bezos as just a "negotiation."
"It is certainly not a crime to ask someone to just tell the truth – tell the truth that this was not politically motivated, and we do not want to write more stories about it," Abramowitz told ABC. "It's part of a debate. "
Vert George Stephanopoulos kicked back," How is that journalism if you think the pictures are newsworthy? How is it journalism to say that we should not publish this if you give us something we want? "
Abramowitz replied that" the story was out there. "
" It could be another argument if we talked about before the first publication, how hypothetically someone could say, "You give me a million dollars and we don't publish this," he said. "It's not what this is."