According to a story released Wednesday, the brother of Jeff Bezos’ former mistress allegedly sold the billionaire’s risqué text conversations and photographs to the Enquirer for hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to expose their romance in 2019.
According to those acquainted with the situation, Michael Sanchez, the brother of the Amazon CEO’s girlfriend former Fox News Anchor Lauren Sanchez was paid $200,000 by the publication’s parent business, American Media LLC, for the texts and photographs used in the article.
According to the Journal, Michael, a talent agent who has worked with television experts, had been a source for the Enquirer and its senior editor, Dylan Howard, for years before supplying the images.
Unlike most sources, who are compensated by the business after a story is published, the contract with Sanchez said that he would be paid up front, regardless of whether or not the item was published.
According to the Journal, the firm’s general council also included an unusual condition in the contract with Michael, which was signed on Oct. 26, to make it apparent that the arrangement was not a “capture and kill” to keep the information from being released.
According to the article, publisher David Pecker authorised the $200,000 contract which was greater than the firm’s standard source compensation at a time when the company was experiencing financial difficulties.
A conflict between the tabloid and the world’s wealthiest man erupted as a result of the agreement as well as internal battles inside American Media, according to the publication.
One instance was a scuffle between Pecker and the firm’s general counsel before the Enquirer published the article in January 2019, when Bezos was still married to MacKenzie Scott, according to the newspaper.
Before the report was published, the Enquirer reached out to Bezos for comment on Jan. 7, causing him to announce two days later that he and his wife, Scott, were divorcing after more than two decades together.
When the article was published, the print version of the newspaper said, “BEZOS’ DIVORCE!” While the article was titled “THE CHEATING PHOTOS THAT ENDED HIS MARRIAGE” and included photographs of Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, as well as steamy text message excerpts.
Bezos quickly accused Pecker of blackmail and politically driven extortion, and Pecker denied the allegations.
Responding to a request for comment this week, Sanchez said that he did not want to “dignify” the Journal’s reporting on the contract and that he did not send “the numerous penis photos.”
However, he refused to clarify whether he had sold any additional images of Bezos to the Enquirer in the past. Neither Bezos nor Lauren Sanchez responded to the paper’s calls for comment, and neither did the paper’s demands for response.
In May, Bezos promoted the implausible claim that Saudi Arabia was behind the exposure of his relationship with Lauren.
- Jeff Lauren: GETTY