- Federal prosecutors are reviewing whether American Media, Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, violated its non-prosecution agreement when it allegedly tried to “blackmail” Jeff Bezos,Bloomberg reports.
- AMI previously agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice for an investigation into Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney.
- As part of the agreement, the US Attorney’s Office said AMI would be subject to charges if the company committed any crimes.
Federal prosecutors are reviewing whether American Media, Inc. violated its cooperation deal by the way it handled a story of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s affair with Lauren Sanchez, according to Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced in November that it had struck a non-prosecution agreement with American Media, Inc., which owns the National Enquirer. The deal was during the office’s investigation into whether Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, made a $US150,000 hush-money payment to Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty to the charges, among others, in December. He’s due to begin his prison sentence in March.
The agreement stated that AMI would be subject to charges if the company committed any crimes.
“It is understood that, should AMI commit any crimes subsequent to the date of signing this Agreement … AMI shall thereafter be subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation for which this Office has knowledge,” the agreement reads.
In a blog post published Thursday, Bezos accused AMI of “extortion and blackmail.” He published what he said were emails from the company threatening to publish lurid photos of him and Sanchez – unless he stopped investigating how and why the National Enquirer exposed his affair, and he stopped The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, from looking into the company’s ties with Saudi Arabia.
Federal prosecutors are now reviewing whether those alleged emails, or any other activity, violated the company’s non-prosecution agreement, according to Bloomberg.
Jon Hammond, a spokesman for AMI, told Bloomberg that he has “no knowledge of anything like that.”
In a previous statement to Business Insider, a representative for AMI said the company “acted lawfully.”
- Read more:
- National Enquirer publisher responds to Jeff Bezos’ blistering blog post that accused the tabloid of extortion
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer publisher of ‘extortion’ over naked photos in extraordinary blog post
- Read all the emails Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer sent to ‘blackmail’ him