Writing in his bog, Bezos said that the whole thing was part of a battle with the tabloid publisher, which has had close links with the president of the United States Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump who has also made it clear that he does not like Amazon.
Bezos said that he didn't want his photos published, but he also would not participate in the papers " well-known practice of blackmail, political favours, political attacks, and corruption".
"I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
Bezos and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage, following a period of “loving exploration” and a trial separation. That same day, the National Enquirer touted it was publishing alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor whom he was said to be dating.
Shortly after that, Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a longtime security consultant and former appointee of US President Ronald Reagan. De Becker proceeded to tell the media that the leak was politically motivated.
The Washington Post has published many articles critical of the president. It acts as Amazon’s “chief lobbyist”, Trump has said on Twitter, without presenting evidence. Trump called Bezos “Jeff Bozo” in a tweet last month about the National Enquirer’s coverage of his divorce.
“It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy, ,Bezos wrote. “President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”
In his bog, Bezos cited an email from AMI deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to a lawyer representing de Becker. In it, AMI proposed a public acknowledgement from Bezos and de Becker that “they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that (AMI’s) coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces”.
In return for such an acknowledgement, according to the email, AMI offered “not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos”.
Bezos said the statement AMI was proposing was false and described the offer as an “extortionate proposal”.
If the extortion proves true, then it might get AMI into considerable hot water. Last year the tabloid made a deal with Federal prosecutors in connection with a $150,000 hush-money payment given to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claims she had an affair with President Donald Trump. The payment was made during the 2016 presidential election to influence that election, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime.
Bezos, who owns more than $120 billion in Amazon stock, said in his blog: “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”