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American Media says it acted lawfully in reporting on Amazon's Bezos

Jeff Bezos Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Feb 08, 2019, 08.20 PM (IST)

American Media Inc, the owner of the National Enquirer, said on Friday it acted lawfully in its reporting on Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com Inc, and that it would thoroughly investigate his claims of blackmail and take whatever action was necessary.

Bezos on Thursday accused AMI of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing "intimate photos" he allegedly sent to his girlfriend unless he said in public that the supermarket tabloid's reporting on him was not politically motivated.

It comes after the tabloid last month reported Bezos was in a relationship with former news anchor and entertainment reporter Lauren Sanchez -- having accessed private text messages.

In a post on blogging platform Medium Thursday, Bezos said Enquirer publisher American Media Inc (AMI), led by David Pecker, approached him with a threat to publish the photos if he did not halt an investigation into the motives behind that leak.

He added the publication demanded he and security consultant Gavin de Becker, who is leading the probe, publically state they had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces."

De Becker mentioned in a recent Daily Beast recent that "strong leads point to political motives." Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, is a consistent subject of criticism by US President Donald Trump.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote in the post, which was entitled "No thank you, Mr Pecker" and included copies of emails from AMI.

"Be assured, no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here," he added.

Story highlights

Bezos on Thursday accused AMI of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing 'intimate photos' he allegedly sent to his girlfriend unless he said in public that the supermarket tabloid's reporting on him was not politically motivated.