The Daily Beast reported Sunday that sources within the National Enquirer’s parent company AMI said that it had acquired racy texts and photos sent between Amazon owner Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez from Sanchez’s pro-Trump brother. The Enquirer came under fire last week when Bezos released emails showing what he called a blackmail attempt by the company.
Michael Sanchez, who is known to have connections with several Trump associates, had already been under suspicion as the source of the leaks. The Daily Beast reported last week that Gavin de Becker, Bezos’ private security consultant, had named only Sanchez as a subject of his investigation. An AMI lawyer all but confirmed Sanchez’s role in an interview Sunday with ABC.
According to the Daily Beast, Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager and acquaintance of Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes, believed the Enquirer published its story on Bezos’ affair with “President Trump’s knowledge and appreciation.” According to the documents the Daily Beast reviewed, Sanchez also thought Republican operatives “who THINK Jeff gets up every morning and has a WaPo meeting to plot its next diabolical attack on President Trump” played a part in encouraging the Enquirer’s actions. According to the Washington Post, Sanchez said he’d heard from people at AMI that the Enquirer was in the middle of “a takedown to make Trump happy.”
Sanchez has indicated on social media that he views reporting critical of the president as “fake news,” according to the Post. Bezos, who owns the Post, said in the blog post going public with AMI’s alleged extortion attempt that he was targeted because of his ownership of the Post, which has investigated AMI’s ties to Trump. AMI, which owns the Enquirer, is led by David Pecker, a longtime friend and admirer of Trump’s. Pecker has ensured positive coverage of the president and his family in his publications, and he and AMI have entered into a (now possibly imperiled) non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice after Pecker worked with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to organize a “catch-and-kill” payment of $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who has said she had an affair with Trump.
According to the Daily Beast, de Becker has said his investigation into the source of the leak has concluded and that he will turn his results over to authorities. He also said his investigation into what the Enquirer did once it received the leaked texts is still ongoing.
Update, Feb. 11, 2019 at 3:55 p.m.: This post has been updated to clarify the nature of Bezos’ relationship with Lauren Sanchez.