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story.lead_photo.caption FILE- In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington. An attorney for the head of the National Enquirer’s parent company says the tabloid didn’t commit extortion or blackmail by threatening to publish Bezos’ explicit photos. Elkan Abramowitz represents American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker. He defended the tabloid’s practice as a “negotiation” in an interview Sunday, with ABC News.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

WASHINGTON -- An attorney for the parent company of The National Enquirer said Sunday that the tabloid committed neither extortion nor blackmail by threatening to publish intimate photos of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

Elkan Abromowitz, an attorney for American Media Inc. chief executive David Pecker, said Sunday that a "reliable source" well-known to Bezos and his mistress provided the story about the billionaire's extramarital affair.

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

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 leader of America's best-known tabloid, who is a strong backer of President Donald Trump. Trump has been critical of Bezos over his ownership of The Washington Post and Amazon.

Abramowitz defended the tabloid's handling of the Bezos 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."

A Section on 02/11/2019

Print Headline: Enquirer parent disputes Bezos accusation

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