Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer tried to extort him

In a post on Medium, Bezos said he won't participate in the Enquirer's "well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption."
5:16 | 02/08/19

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer tried to extort him
And we begin with our top story Amazon CEO Jeff Bay's Alex said that publisher of The National Enquirer tried to blackmail him. Over compromising photos he is sharing tell all emails and a post which we have on the screen here now of course I don't want people. Personal photos the ad published if he's a but I also won't participate in their well known practice of blackmail political favors political attacks. And corruption I prefer to stand out. Roll this log over and see what crawls out a strong response there for this we're gonna bring an ABC news legal analyst royal Oakes in Los Angeles. Right well how big of a bombshell is this I mean we of the world's richest man accusing the national inquire of extortion over explicit photos. Well it's huge at first it looks like the national inquirer simply putting its neck and a legal noose because they Izzo seems to have a point. Blackmail is where you say to somebody look I want something I want money or something else and if I don't get it. I will publish compromising photos that's classic blackmail similarly extortion involves a threat. I will do something bad to you if you do don't do something good for me. So the response by The National Enquirer may be a little muddied at this point they're suggesting what we were First Amendment right to speak and what about the idea of the world's richest man behaving inappropriately is not a new story but. It's going to be hard for the inquirer to get away from the fact that when you clear all the dust away. Bottom line is they are threatening to provide to the world evidence of the affair racy photos texts. If days those will simply call the dogs and say well no we don't think this national enquirer investigation is politically motivated. The trump connection comes in so it all gets murky but essentially The National Enquirer could be in a heap of legal trouble. And rail let's talk a little bit more about that trump connection because The National Enquirer is owned by a MIT media which is run by David Pecker a longtime friend of Donald Trump so let's talk about the politics here. You know what's happening of course is this idea of catch and kill Donald Trump very close to a mr. Packard the head of the company. And when allegedly Donald Trump had affairs with women. And the women would come forward and say have like to sell my story. The inquirer allegedly participated. With trump in the process of saying to the woman wow this is uninteresting story here's a bunch of money years under thousand dollars of course its exclusive he can't tell anybody else and it will probably publish it but we maim not and then they don't publish it. So now the the Moeller folks come along and some of The National Enquirer corporate folks are given immunity in connection with the investigations of Donald Trump and his people. That's the kind of thing the base knows what the Washington Post behind him is able to investigate. Look into these connections. And so The National Enquirer allegedly is saying to base those. Again stop with the investigations. Stop with the insinuation that we have something a political motive for investigating and if you don't play ball with us mr. baze those. You and your mistresses photos these compromising pictures that you texted messages photographs that's gonna be spliced all over the world wide web. Yes that's of course from those emails that Jeff pays us the sharing but I wanted to get 10 AM my statement they released says. This morning I want to put that up on the screen for you American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of mr. bay vows. Further at the time and the recent allegations made by mister bays as it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless in light of the nature of the allegations published by mr. -- those. The board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims royal what do you make of this response. They're just buying time when they say they've got a thoroughly investigated what they're saying is literally know what to do this this looks and sounds really bad. It actually kind of goes back to the Watergate notion you'll remember in Watergate and the Pentagon papers the question was is it illegal for the New York Times in the Washington Post. To publish material that may well have been stolen in violation of a federal law and essentially the courts is said as long as the papers didn't actually participate in and conspire with others to steal material if it just comes through transom were under the door it's okay to publish an especially when you've got a national interest at stake self I think. The National Enquirer is gonna position is gonna morph into this concept of it is a big story as to whether the world's richest man behaved inappropriately. And therefore we didn't break any laws in getting this information getting these racy photos and so on so we are within our rights to publish and there's a First Amendment right. There's another angle blackmail of course is a crime but sometimes courts are very sensitive to first amendment rights and when blackmail is essentially. Verbal stuff when you're just saying things to people there's a presumption that what you say is protected by the First Amendment so that's what the national inquires can arrest on we're journalists is is an important story we've got a First Amendment right. But cut through all that it still sounds like classic blackmail and extortion that's going to be businesses argument. Royal oaks in Los Angeles thank you so much for your perspective I'm sure we'll be talking about this story for days to cop.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"5:16","description":"In a post on Medium, Bezos said he won't participate in the Enquirer's \"well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption.\"","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/US","id":"60941841","title":"Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer tried to extort him","url":"/US/video/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-national-enquirer-extort-60941841"}