Blackmailed by Pecker… The Bezos dick pic, the role of the Saudis, and possibility that Kushner may have been involved

If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to read the article that Jeff Bezos posted to Medium today about a blackmail attempt against him on the part of AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer. It would appear, from letters that Bezos has made public this afternoon, that AMI, led by Trump associate David Pecker, threatened to publish intimate photos of the Amazon CEO if he didn’t agree to immediately stop his investigation into how the National Enquirer had come to be in possession of private text messages and photos sent between him and his and his mistress, Lauren Sanchez.

I’m no expert on extortion, but, having just read through the documents, I think it’s pretty likely that the folks at AMI have committed a crime of some kind here, as they instruct Bezos in writing that they will publish revealing photos of both him and Sanchez, unless he issues a false statement saying that he and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker, “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage [of the affair] was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

As for what actually motivated AMI to go after Bezos in this way in the first place, if I had to guess, I’d say it was probably done to curry favor with Donald Trump, who has been relentless in his attacks against Bezos, who, as I suspect most of you already know, also owns the Washington Post. Bezos, however, offers another interesting possibility in his post. According to him, all of this could have something to do with a deal between Pecker and the Saudis, who, very likely, were not pleased at the coverage in the Washington Post after their columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered by a Saudi assassination squad.

With more on this angle, here’s a little something just posted by conservative columnist Bill Kristol.

Could it be that AMI and Kushner had brought Saudi intelligence into a plot to collude against Bezos, and Pecker freaked out when he learned that Gavin de Becker had figured it out? Could it be that this extortion plot against Bezos was just a desperate attempt to stop the Amazon CEO from taking what he’d found to federal prosecutors, who were already all over AMI for the company’s role in paying-off and silencing Donald Trump’s lovers during the 2016 presidential campaign?

I don’t really understand what’s going on here, and I’ll confess to having mixed feelings about Bezos, but I really like it when people publicly stand up to blackmailers, like David Letterman did so memorably a decade ago, and I think it’s commendable that Bezos essentially dared them to release his dick pic, saying the integrity of the Washington Post means more to him…

Maybe, though, on second thought, he just really wants this particular dick pic in the public realm, where people, awestricken, can behold it with admiration.

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  1. John Brown
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    There is no good guy in this story.

  2. David Simon by proxy
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    A rogue publisher signs a plea deal to avoid prosecution for maneuvering to hide dirt to protect a President, then with ink still wet on that deal, threatens to throw dirt at a legit publisher & the world’s richest man if he persists in actual journalism. I got no more WTF left.

  3. More from Kristol
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “If Bezos suspects what he seems to suspect—a Saudi-Trump-AMI criminal conspiracy—he’ll presumably have his investigators turn over whatever evidence he has to the FBI and Justice Department. Or has he already?”

  4. Dan Taylor
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    A bungled robbery is what brought down Nixon. Could a bungled extortion attempt be what ultimately derails Fat Nixon?

  5. Guy Combes
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink


  6. Anonymous
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    It’s a cockfight, literally and figuratively.

  7. Ronan Farrow by proxy
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump fielded similar “stop digging or we’ll ruin you” blackmail efforts from AMI. (I did not engage as I don’t cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting.)

  8. Demetrius
    Posted February 9, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Whoever wrote that New York Post headline deserves a Pulitzer.

  9. wobblie
    Posted February 9, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    A Putin Puppets comments on the war among our ruling class over privacy issues.

  10. Meta
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Washington Post opinion page: “The National Enquirer shows us just how sleazy it really is”

    May the flawed prevail over the wicked.

    Read more:

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