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Tabloid CEO's lawyer denies Enquirer tried to extort Bezos

AP  |  Washington 

The committed neither nor by threatening to publish intimate photos of Jeff Bezos, an for the of the tabloid's parent company said Sunday.

Elkan Abromowitz, an for David Pecker, said on Sunday a "reliable source" well-known to and his mistress provided the story about the billionaire's extramarital affair.

has said AMI threatened to publish the explicit photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the obtained his private exchanges with his mistress, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, and publicly declare that the Enquirer's coverage of him was not politically motivated.

also owns

Bezos' investigators have suggested the Enquirer's coverage of his affair was driven by dirty politics, and the high-profile clash has pitted the world's richest man against the of America's best-known tabloid, who is a strong backer of

Federal prosecutors are looking into whether the violated a cooperation and nonprosecution agreement that recently spared the gossip sheet from charges for paying hush money to a who claimed she had an affair with Trump, two people familiar with the matter told on Friday.

The people weren't authorised to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But asked during an interview with ABC's "This Week" whether he was concerned the Bezos matter could jeopardize the on cooperation agreement, Abramowitz said: "Absolutely not."

Abramowitz defended the tabloid's handling of the situation as part of a standard legal negotiation.

"I think both Bezos and AMI had interests in resolving their interests," Abramowitz said.

"It's absolutely not a crime to ask somebody to simply tell the truth. Tell the truth that this was not politically motivated, and we will print no more stories."

Bezos' affair became public when the Enquirer published story on Jan 9 about his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, who is also married.

Bezos then hired a team of private investigators to find out how the tabloid got the texts and photos the two exchanged.

Bezos' personal investigators, led by his Gavin de Becker, have focused on Sanchez's brother, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person wasn't authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

is his sister's manager, a Trump supporter and an acquaintance of Trump allies and

Abramowitz would not comment when asked whether was the Enquirer's source but said that "Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was."

has declined to speak with AP on the record.

In a Jan 31 tweet, he said without evidence that de Becker "spreads fake, unhinged conservative conspiracy theories."

After Bezos on Thursday posted the exchanges with AMI in an extraordinary blog post on, several celebrities and journalists posted on that they too had been threatened by AMI.

Ronan Farrow said he and "and at least one other prominent journalist" involved in reporting on the tabloid had "fielded similar 'stop digging or we'll ruin you' efforts from AMI" and alleged the company tried to "silence him" by "fabricating stories of me with prostitutes."

Abramowitz said he didn't know of any AMI employees blackmailing celebrities or journalists or "committing any crime at all."

In recent months, the Trump-friendly tabloid acknowledged secretly assisting Trump's campaign by paying USD 150,000 to Playboy centerfold for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump.

The company then buried the story until after the 2016 election.

Trump's longtime personal and fixer pleaded guilty last year to charges that included helping to that transaction.

As part of a nonprosecution agreement in that case, AMI promised not to break the law.

The deal requires top executives, including Pecker and the Enquirer's editor, Dylan Howard, to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

A violation of the agreement could lead to criminal charges over the McDougal payments.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 21:45 IST