American Media lawyer denies attempt at blackmail, extortion of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
An attorney for National Enquirer owner American Media Inc.’s CEO defended the organization’s correspondence with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, saying AMI did nothing illegal. “It absolutely isn’t extortion, not blackmail,” Elkan Abramowitz, lawyer for AMI CEO David Pecker, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
His remarks came after Bezos published a blog post-Thursday accusing of attempting to blackmail him to release a trove of awkward photos, including a number of a sexual 32, AMI. The conflict followed the Enquirer’s previous book of a report on Bezos’ breakup with Los Angeles news anchor Lauren Sanchez with his spouse and his relationship.
Bezos on Thursday posted mails by which in exchange for Bezos acknowledging the tabloid proprietor had no motive for publishing its expose AMI representatives offered to withhold publication of the photos that were awkward. Donald Trump has been supported by pecker, and Trump has criticized Bezos, who owns The Washington Post.
“This isn’t extortion because all AMI wanted was the truth,” Abramowitz told “This Week,” adding that the company was making a “news choice” and the Bezos correspondence “was a part of a valid negotiation.” AMI agents declined to comment on Abramowitz’s remarks. One of the accusations, Bezos made was that AMI and Pecker have ties to the Saudi Arabian government, possibly.
“The Saudi angle appears to hit a particularly sensitive nervewracking,” Bezos composed. The Bezos allegations came after AMI signed up a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorneys in relation to the government’s investigation into Trump’s Democratic effort. If AMI is discovered to have committed a crime, the business would not be immune to prosecution, said Michael Conway, a lawyer who has represented media associations such as the New York Times and ABC, and now teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Conway said the AMI correspondence “certainly has the components of blackmail,” that will “blow up” that the company’s deal with the government. Abramowitz said he’s “not” worried the Bezos revelations might impact this arrangement. Stuart Karle, Reuters executive and a former Dow Jones lawyer who teaches media law at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, said the problem is fraught with risk for American Media. However, he said “it sounds improbable to me that whatever happened here” would “ruin” the provider.
“There are a lot of steps between this type of correspondence along with a formal criminal charge,” he explained. But, “corporations can be ruined by criminal fees” or can be forced into a sale to pay off obligations in civil cases,” he added.
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