PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATING ENQUIRER AFTER BEZOS CLAIM
NEW YORK: The National Enquirer’s alleged attempt to blackmail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with intimate photos could get the tabloid’s parent company and top editors in deep legal trouble and reopen them to prosecution for paying hush money to a Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with US President Donald Trump.
Federal prosecutors are looking at whether the Enquirer’s feud with Bezos violated a cooperation and non-prosecution agreement that recently spared the gossip sheet from charges in the hush-money case, two people familiar with the matter told AP on Friday.
The clash between the world’s richest man and America’s most aggressive tabloid spilled into public view late on Thursday when Bezos accused it of threatening to print photos of him and a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
He said the Enquirer made two demands - stop investigating how the publication obtained private messages that Bezos and his girlfriend had exchanged; and declare that the Enquirer’s coverage of Bezos was not politically motivated.
Enquirer owner American Media Inc said on Friday its board ordered an investigation. Earlier in the day, the company said it “acted lawfully” while reporting the story and engaged in “goodfaith negotiations” with Bezos.
In recent months, the Trumpfriendly tabloid acknowledged assisting Trump’s White House campaign by paying Playboy centrefold Karen Mcdougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with the US president.