No thank you, Mr. Pecker


No thank you, Mr. Pecker

unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just
unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at
least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m
glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in
writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided
to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and
embarrassment they threaten.

the owner of the National Enquirer, led by David Pecker, recently
entered into an immunity deal with the Department of Justice related to
their role in the so-called “Catch and Kill” process on behalf of
President Trump and his election campaign. Mr. Pecker and his company
have also been investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf
of the Saudi Government.

And sometimes Mr. Pecker mixes it all together:

Mr. Trump became president, he rewarded Mr. Pecker’s loyalty with a
White House dinner to which the media executive brought a guest with
important ties to the royals in Saudi Arabia. At the time, Mr. Pecker
was pursuing business there while also hunting for financing for

investigators and legitimate media have of course suspected and proved
that Mr. Pecker has used the Enquirer and AMI for political reasons. And
yet AMI keeps claiming otherwise:

Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was
instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces,
political or otherwise.”

Of course, legitimate media have been challenging that assertion for a long time:

Mystery Grows Over Pro-Saudi Tabloid: Embassy Got Sneak Peek

didn’t know much about most of that a few weeks ago when intimate texts
messages from me were published in the National Enquirer. I engaged
investigators to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine
the motives for the many unusual actions taken by the Enquirer. As it
turns out, there are now several independent investigations looking into
this matter.

lead my investigation, I retained Gavin de Becker. I’ve known Mr. de
Becker for twenty years, his expertise in this arena is excellent, and
he’s one of the smartest and most capable leaders I know. I asked him to
prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to
work on and to proceed with whatever budget he needed to pursue the
facts in this matter.

a piece of context: My ownership of the Washington Post is a
complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who
experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am
their enemy.

Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. Also, The
Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist
Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles.

though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my
investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission.
My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will
remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and
reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of
any complexities it creates for me.)

to the story: Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr.
Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be
better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive

few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached,
verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text
messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our

lawyers argued that AMI has no right to publish photos since any person
holds the copyright to their own photos, and since the photos in
themselves don’t add anything newsworthy.

claim of newsworthiness is that the photos are necessary to show Amazon
shareholders that my business judgment is terrible. I founded Amazon in
my garage 24 years ago, and drove all the packages to the post office
myself. Today, Amazon employs more than 600,000 people, just finished
its most profitable year ever, even while investing heavily in new
initiatives, and it’s usually somewhere between the #1 and #5 most
valuable company in the world. I will let those results speak for

OK, back to their threat to publish intimate photos of me. I guess we (me, my lawyers, and Gavin de Becker) didn’t react to the generalized threat with enough fear, so they sent this:

From: Howard, Dylan [] (Chief Content Officer, AMI)
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 3:33 PM
To: Martin Singer (litigation counsel for Mr. de Becker)
Subject:. Jeff Bezos & Ms. Lauren Sanchez Photos



I am leaving the office for the night. I will be available on my cell — 917 XXX-XXXX.

in the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington
Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National
Enquirer’s initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos
obtained during our newsgathering.

addition to the “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known
as a ‘d*ck pick’” — The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These

· Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.

· Ms. Sanchez response — a photograph of her smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated oral sex scene.

· A
shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand — while wearing
his wedding ring. He’s wearing either tight black cargo pants or
shorts — and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said

· A
full-length body selfie of Mr. Bezos wearing just a pair of tight black
boxer-briefs or trunks, with his phone in his left hand — while wearing
his wedding ring.

· A selfie of Mr. Bezos fully clothed.

· A full-length scantily-clad body shot with short trunks.

· A
naked selfie in a bathroom — while wearing his wedding ring. Mr. Bezos
is wearing nothing but a white towel — and the top of his pubic region
can be seen.

· Ms. Sanchez wearing a plunging red neckline dress revealing her cleavage and a glimpse of her nether region.

· Ms. Sanchez wearing a two-piece red bikini with gold detail dress revealing her cleavage.

It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly.


that got my attention. But not in the way they likely hoped. Any
personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because
there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I
can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that
point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their
similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate
because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)

the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of
their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos
unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to
the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s
coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say
they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated
threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future
if we ever deviate from that lie.

Be assured, no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here: I
will not report embarrassing information about you if you do X for me.
And if you don’t do X quickly, I will report the embarrassing

Nothing I might write here could tell the National Enquirer story as eloquently as their own words below.

communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing
journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and
ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t
want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their
well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks,
and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what
crawls out.


Jeff Bezos

From: Fine, Jon [] (Deputy General Counsel, AMI)
Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 5:57 PM
To: Martin Singer (Mr de Becker’s attorney)
Subject: Re: EXTERNAL* RE: Bezos et al / American Media et al

Marty –

Here are our proposed terms:

A full and complete mutual release of all claims that American Media,
on the one hand, and Jeff Bezos and Gavin de Becker (the “Bezos
Parties”), on the other, may have against each other.

A public, mutually-agreed upon acknowledgment from the Bezos Parties,
released through a mutually-agreeable news outlet, affirming that they
have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was
politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and an
agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility.

3. AM agrees not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos (the “Unpublished Materials”).

AM affirms that it undertook no electronic eavesdropping in connection
with its reporting and has no knowledge of such conduct.

5. The agreement is completely confidential.

In the case of a breach of the agreement by one or more of the Bezos
Parties, AM is released from its obligations under the agreement, and
may publish the Unpublished Materials.

7. Any other disputes arising out of this agreement shall first be submitted to JAMS mediation in California

Thank you,


Deputy General Counsel, Media

American Media, LLC

Jon P. Fine

Deputy General Counsel, Media

O: (212) 743–6513 C: (347) 920–6541

February 5, 2019

Via email:


Martin D. Singer

Laveley & Singer

Re: Jeff Bezos / American Media, LLC, et al.

Dear Mr. Singer:

write in response to your February 4, 2019, letter to Dylan Howard, and
to address serious concerns we have regarding the continuing defamatory
activities of your client and his representatives regarding American
Media’s motivations in its recent reporting about your client.

a primary matter, please be advised that our newsgathering and
reporting on matters involving your client, including any use of your
client’s “private photographs,” has been, and will continue to be,
consistent with applicable laws. As you know, “the fair use of a
copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies . . . for
purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting . . . is not an
infringement of copyright.” 17 USC Sec. 107. With millions of Americans
having a vested interest in the success of Amazon, of which your client
remains founder, chairman, CEO, and president, an exploration of Mr.
Bezos’ judgment as reflected by his texts and photos is indeed
newsworthy and in the public interest.

the copyright issues you raise, we also find it necessary to address
various unsubstantiated defamatory statements and scurrilous rumors
attributed to your client’s representatives in the press suggesting that
“strong leads point to political motives”1 in the publication of The
National Enquirer story. Indeed, you yourself declared the “politically
motivated underpinnings” of our reporting to be “self-evident” in your
correspondence on Mr. de Becker’s behalf to Mr. Howard dated January 31,

Once again, as I advised you in my February 1 response to your January 31 correspondence, American
Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was
instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces,
political or otherwise.
Simply put, this was and is a news story.

it is our understanding that your client’s representatives, including
the Washington Post, continue to pursue and to disseminate these false
and spurious allegations in a manner that is injurious to American Media
and its executives.

we hereby demand that you cease and desist such defamatory conduct
immediately. Any further dissemination of these false, vicious,
speculative and unsubstantiated statements is done at your client’s
Absent the
immediate cessation of the defamatory conduct, we will have no choice
but to pursue all remedies available under applicable law.

I advised previously, we stand by the legality of our newsgathering and
reporting on this matter of public interest and concern. Moreover,
American Media is undeterred from continuing its reporting on a story
that is unambiguously in the public interest — a position Mr. Bezos
clearly appreciates as reflected in Boies Schiller January 9 letter to
American Media stating that your client “does not intend to discourage
reporting about him” and “supports journalistic efforts.”

said, if your client agrees to cease and desist such defamatory
behavior, we are willing to engage in constructive conversations
regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession. Dylan
Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience.

All other rights, claims, counterclaims and defenses are specifically reserved and not waived.


1 to your client Gavin de Becker)