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I did not know that the National Enquirer was digging in the Bezos affair



P resident Trump said on Tuesday that he did not know in advance that the national inquiry, run by the Allied Allies David Pecker, was planning to expose the billionaire founder Jeff Bezo's extramarital affair.

Tabloid's January scoop, which included quick text messages between Bezos – a frequent target for Trump's Twitter barbs – and his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, instantly speculated that it was an attempt to take down a political opponent. Trump has often confirmed that he is the victim of "presidential crime" and described unfavorable coverage of the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, as "false news".

Afterwards, Bezos retained security consultant Gavin de Becker to find out how the company got access to its private messages. An inquiry says that the Enquirer owner, American Media Inc., threatened to publish salacious images of him and Sanchez, unless he agreed to terminate the investigation and publish that the paper's articles were not politically motivated.

Such a political goal could have broken down provisions in an immunity agreement between America Media and the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan, which was adopted last fall not to challenge the company for campaign financing violations related to the "catch" payment and kill "tricks to bury a story under Trump's campaign for a relationship with a former Playboy model.

"If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many can it?" Bezos wrote in a post on Medium that included exchanges between his team and US media. "Be sure no real journalists ever suggest anything going on here: I won't report embarrassing information about you if you do X for me. And if you don't do X quickly, I'll report embarrassing information."

Whether the actions described by Bezos constitute either extortion or extortion under the law will be up to prosecutors to decide. Extortion usually involves a threat of sharing embarrassing information, which usually would not be illegal, in return for money or anything else of value. Extortion involves seeking the same end through the threat of an illegal act, often physical violence.

The US law firm has refused to comment. An AMI spokesman said the publisher "firmly believes" that his actions were legal and said it was in "good faith" negotiations with Bezos when he made the claims. The emails published by the billionaire contained proposals from AMI such as Bezos & # 39; representatives had insulted the company suggesting that reporting was politically motivated.

A few years earlier, AMI's CEO David Pecker directed his company to pay $ 1

50,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story of a ten-year affair with Trump, which it never published, the government said in its non- prosecution agreement. In August 2015, Pecker offered to use the same tactic broader to help Trump's campaign, the prosecutors said.

Among the immunity agreement, AMI is required to establish written standards for its executives and editorial staff on how federal electoral laws apply to their business and consult with lawyers to secure payment for stories of anyone running for government offices violates these laws.

Furthermore, it was conditional on AMI committing "no crimes whatsoever", a standard function in such agreements.

"If the prosecutors find that this exchange with Jeff Bezos was an extra crime, they have the right to void the agreement," said Robert Mintz, a former federal lawyer in private practice. "Looking at your persecution agreement with a collaborative witness falls apart, the last thing you want to see happen because it creates a big headache."

Despite AMI's innocence statement, the board has "determined that it should immediately investigate the allegations" and will take whatever is needed, a Friday spokesman said.


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