An attorney for the publisher of the National Enquirer says the person who leaked text messages between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez is “well known” to both of them.
In an appearance on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, lawyer Elkan Abramowitz, who represents AMI chief executive David Pecker, also denied that a letter sent to Bezos threatening to release intimate photos was criminal.
“It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail,” Abramowitz said.
“What happened was the story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source that had given information to the National Enquirer for ... years prior to this story. It was a source that was well known to both Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez.”
“I can’t discuss who the source was,” Abramowitz said. “Just, it’s... confidential within AMI.”
Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked whether the leaker was Sanchez’s brother, Michael, who has ties to Trumpworld associates like Roger Stone.
“I’m not going to comment on what Michael Sanchez said,” Abramowitz replied. “I’m not permitted to tell you, or confirm or deny, who the source is. I can tell you, it’s not Saudi Arabia. It’s not President Trump. It’s not Roger Stone. But I cannot tell you who the source is.”
The Daily Beast was the first to report that Bezos, the richest man in the world, had hired top-flight investigator Gavin de Becker to probe who had leaked information to the National Enquirer.
In a post on Medium last week, Bezos accused AMI of trying to blackmail him with a letter in which the company said it had “d*ick picks” in its possession and demanded he drop his investigation. Bezos suggested AMI was also upset by the Washington Post’s digging into Saudi Arabia.
Abramowitz said the letter represented a negotiation, not coercion.
“I think both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their differences. Bezos didn’t want another story written about him or those pictures published. AMI did not want to have the libel against them that this was inspired by the White House, inspired by Saudi Arabia or inspired by the Washington Post,” he said. “It had nothing to do with it. It was a usual story that National Enquirer gets from reliable sources,” he said.
“Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was. Any investigator that was going to investigate this knew who the source was. It was not the White House. It was not Saudi Arabia,” he said.