Jeff Bezos was awarded a small portion of the $1.7 million in legal fees he wanted from his girlfriend’s brother after a judge said hiring 18 lawyers for the case was unreasonable

Michael Sanchez Jeff Bezos
Michael Sanchez, left, and Jeff Bezos. John Sciulli/Getty Images for Politicon; Getty Images
  • Jeff Bezos was awarded $US218,385 ($285,248) in legal fees following a suit brought by his girlfriend’s brother.
  • It’s a fraction of the $US1.7 ($2) million Bezos originally requested.
  • A judge ruled that the number of hours billed and lawyers used was “not reasonable.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Jeff Bezos has been awarded $US218,000 ($284,745) to cover legal fees he incurred fighting an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit brought by his girlfriend’s brother, a small portion of the amount he requested.

Judge John Doyle of Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled Friday that Bezos would receive $US218,385 ($285,248) to cover his legal fees, plus an additional $US36,000 ($47,022), rather than the $US1.7 ($2) million he requested in a motion filed in January.

Doyle said that the more than 2,070 hours billed were “not reasonable,” and that Bezos had put too many lawyers on his case, Bloomberg’s Malathi Nayak reported.

“This was not a matter that required seven partners and 11 associates,” Doyle said.

An attorney for Bezos declined to comment. Tom Warren, an attorney for Sanchez, told Insider in a statement that Bezos’ original request was “grotesque.”

“When Mr. Bezos filed his motion for $US1.7 ($2) million in attorney’s fees, we discussed how grotesque the request was, on many levels,” he said. “Last Friday, the court resoundingly rejected his request.”

Bezos and his personal security chief, Gavin de Becker, wanted Sanchez to reimburse them for $US1,676,919.50 ($2,190,340) in attorney fees and $US36,019.26 ($47,047) in other costs they racked up while defending the defamation suit, which Sanchez filed against Bezos and de Becker in February 2020.

The suit alleged that both men falsely accused him of providing nude photos of the Amazon CEO to the National Enquirer. Sanchez alleged in the suit that Bezos told journalists Sanchez had handed over the images to the tabloid, but Sanchez said he never had the photos in his possession.

Bezos quickly filed a motion to dismiss the suit under California’s anti-SLAPP law, which is intended to protect against frivolous lawsuits.

Last November, Doyle ruled in favor of Bezos, calling the evidence “inadmissible hearsay” and striking down Sanchez’s suit.

Lauren Sanchez Jeff Bezos
Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos. Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

The most recent development in the case seems to close the book on the tabloid drama between Bezos and Sanchez that began more than two years ago.

In January 2019, hours after Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced they were divorcing, Page Six and the National Enquirer reported that Bezos was in a relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a helicopter pilot and former TV anchor.

The Enquirer said it had conducted a four-month investigation into the relationship between Bezos and Sanchez and had acquired “raunchy messages” the couple had sent each other, some of which the tabloid published. The Enquirer also said it had racy photos of both Bezos and Sanchez, including one that was too explicit to describe in print.

Bezos funded an investigation into the leaked messages, which was headed by de Becker. De Becker told The Daily Beast at the time that Michael Sanchez was “among the people we’ve been speaking with and looking at” during the investigation, and that “strong leads point to political motives” for leaking information to the Enquirer, which Sanchez denied.

Bezos, who announced last month that he would step down as CEO of Amazon later this year, is the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $US1.7 ($2) billion, Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index reported.