The private texts between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, published in January were supplied to the National Enquirer by her brother, Michael Sanchez, who was paid $200,000 for the messages, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
The Enquirer published its story about their affair two days after Bezos was asked for comment, and the same day the billionaire announced he was separating from his wife. Michael Sanchez, a talent agent for reality show judges and pundits and a fervent supporter of President Trump, frequently passed along stories to top Enquirer editor Dylan Howard, the Journal reports. He began talking to the Enquirer and its publisher, American Media, about the affair in October, after the tabloid had already started investigating the relationship between Bezos and his sister, a former television reporter.
American Media CEO David Pecker — a longtime Trump friend who suppressed negative stories about him prior to the 2016 election — wasn't thrilled with the idea of publishing the story because he was worried Bezos would sue, the Journal reports. Trump is an unabashed critic of Bezos, and one of Pecker's advisers reportedly told him if the article did run, it might look like he was doing Trump's bidding. He eventually approved the deal, which was for more than the company usually pays sources, people with knowledge of the matter told the Journal.
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The Enquirer's 11-page article featured quotes from texts and photos of Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, who is now separated from her husband, together. When reached by the Journal, Michael Sanchez said the story was based on "old rumors" and he didn't want to "dignify" the reporting. He also denied sending "the many penis selfies."
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