Did National Enquirer Extort Jeff Bezos?

In an incredible disclosure, the Amazon founder and owner of The Washington Post Jeff Bezos has released what he says was communications from the National Enquirer that sought to blackmail him into dropping an investigation into the tabloid’s motivations in targeting Bezos, a long target of President Donald Trump. The tabloid is of course owned by close Trump friend David Pecker, who is viewed by many as a thoroughly disreputable businessman. On this occasion, however, Bezos says that he has something that has long been missing: an actual letter laying out the alleged extortive pitch. In the middle of this sordid mess is an American Media, Inc. (AMI) attorney named Jon Fine, who identifies himself as the Associate General Counsel. The role of an attorney in such a matter could raise very serious bar and ethical concerns.

Bezos has been embroiled in an embarrassing divorce controversy where his affair with entertainment personality Lauren Sanchez has become public knowledge with the publication of cringeworthy pictures and messages.

Bezos hired investigators to look into the release of the private information. In the meantime, he alleges that he received emails from attorneys representing AMI on Thursday evening threatening him that if he did not stop an investigation into the National Enquirer, the tabloid would release more damaging photos. In a commendable move, Bezos refused to be blackmailed. In a Medium post under the title, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Bezos disclosed everything and may have triggered a serious scandal touching on both legal and media circles.

In January, the National Enquirer published a story detailing an alleged affair between the billionaire and entertainment personality Lauren Sanchez, publishing pictures and text messages between the couple. Bezos funded an immediate investigation into “how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by the Enquirer.” The obvious suggestion is that Pecker and his organization was again mixing its media assets with political motives.

One would have thought that the last thing any rational person would do is to send a threatening letter suggesting a quid pro quo. Yet, in an email on Feb. 5, 2019, Deputy General Counsel Jon Fine warns Bezos about “continuing defamatory activities.” It was an empty threat. However, then came the kicker: “Absent the immediate cessation of the defamatory conduct, we will have no choice but to pursue all remedies available under applicable law. That said, if your client agrees to cease and desist such defamatory behavior, we are willing to engage in constructive conversations regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession.”

That sounds a lot like the threat to release damaging pictures unless Bezos pulled back the Washington Post or investigators from digging further into the motivations of the National Enquirer conduct. There is also a suggestion left by Bezos’ statement that the effort by the National Enquirer could be due to the coverage of the Post regarding Saudi Arabia.

Let’s stop here for a moment. The response of Bezos itself raises some concerns in the investigation of a publication. Moreover, the Post itself is in a problematic position in covering a scandal involving its own owner. The fact is that the coverage of Bezos is exactly what the National Enquirer does. He is a celebrity and the tabloid runs sensational stories about celebrities. This is a grocery store tabloid that traffics in gossip. There is nothing particularly atypical or unpredictable in running this story. The Post published a story about the leaked texts under the headline, “Was tabloid exposé of Bezos affair just juicy gossip or a political hit job?”

What is highly unusual and untoward are the emails sent by Fine. If the first email was reckless, the second email on Feb. 6th was pure insanity. Fine demanded that Bezos publicly reject the Post’s coverage and announce “that they have no knowledge of basis for suggesting that American Media Inc.’s coverage was politically motivated of influencer by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility.” Then came the quid pro quo: “AM agrees not to publish, distribute, share or describe unpublished texts and photos.”

There is no question that the threat violates core journalistic principles, but AMI and the National Enquirer have never been particular concern with such professional rules. Pecker himself is a much reviled figure for his sleazy conduct. The legal ethical question could be more debatable, but there are good-faith objections that could be raised over the involvement of Fine and other lawyers.

Fine seems utterly clueless or careless in making such a threat. He is seeking to influence coverage of his client by threatening the release of embarrassing material against the owner of a media company. This follows the disgraceful role played by Pecker and AMI in serving as a conduit for hush money to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to help President Trump. AMI secured immunity in exchange for cooperating with the Mueller investigation. In that scandal, reporter Ronan Farrow also accused AMI of threatening to “ruin” him if he continued his efforts to uncover the truth about Pecker and AMI.

Bezos lowered the boom in his posting that began:

“Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”

Subject to a cooperating argument with the Special Counsel over his use of AMI to protect Trump from scandal, it could prove highly problematic for Pecker to be continuing such work against one of Trump’s critics while working with the Special Counsel.

In one communication from Chief Content Officer for AMI Dylan Howard, counsel for Bezos’ investigator is giving the following list of possible images that could be posted if Bezos does not do what AMI demands:

However, in the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer’s initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering.

In addition to the “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick’” — The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These include:

· Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.

· Ms. Sanchez response — a photograph of her smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated oral sex scene.

· A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand — while wearing his wedding ring. He’s wearing either tight black cargo pants or shorts — and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said garment.

· A full-length body selfie of Mr. Bezos wearing just a pair of tight black boxer-briefs or trunks, with his phone in his left hand — while wearing his wedding ring.

· A selfie of Mr. Bezos fully clothed.

· A full-length scantily-clad body shot with short trunks.

· A naked selfie in a bathroom — while wearing his wedding ring. Mr. Bezos is wearing nothing but a white towel — and the top of his pubic region can be seen.

· Ms. Sanchez wearing a plunging red neckline dress revealing her cleavage and a glimpse of her nether region.

· Ms. Sanchez wearing a two-piece red bikini with gold detail dress revealing her cleavage.

It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly.

Dylan.

What is particularly concerning is the involvement of an attorney in this sordid affair. Fine offers a quid pro quo:

2. A public, mutually-agreed upon acknowledgment from the Bezos Parties, released through a mutually-agreeable news outlet, affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility.

3. AM agrees not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos (the “Unpublished Materials”).

It is not clear if this constitutes a federal crime but an argument could be made that it is blackmail or extortion. Under 18 U.S.C. §873:

“Whoever, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States, demands or receives any money or other valuable thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

Moreover, there are serious ethical rules that could apply to a review of the conduct of attorneys like Fine. Fine was only recently given his position at AMI. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he previously worked at Open Road Integrated Media Inc. It is not clear where he is a bar member. The common rule of professional conduct (Rule 8.4) stipulates:

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

   (a) Violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
   (b) Commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
   (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;
   (d) Engage in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice;
   (e) State or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;
   (f) Knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; or
   (g) Seek or threaten to seek criminal charges or disciplinary charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter.

Fine could portray this as simply a fight between two organizations. He could argue that he was merely being open about a common understanding between media organizations to reach a type of truce. He was neither hiding nor misleading in his intentions. Moreover, he could note that Bezos was using his organization to trash AMI and he was seeking to end the mutually destructive conflict.

Yet, Fine is clearly threatening to embarrass Bezos unless he did something of value for AMI and Pecker (in clearly them from any improper conduct). Since Pecker and AMI targeting a Trump critic could be raised in conjunction with his criminal cooperation agreement, there is a motivation that could be raised outside of the embarrassment of the coverage. If Pecker and AMI are still working to advance the interests of Trump, Mueller might reconsider his past statements as well as his cooperation.

The problem is who will investigate this sordid affair. Unless Mueller is willing to investigate his own cooperating witness, the other possibilities be Congress or the bar. What is clear is that someone needs to investigate.

116 thoughts on “Did National Enquirer Extort Jeff Bezos?”

  1. Jeff Bezos is the enemy of every gullible American.

    ===

    “Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of His Privacy, as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State for Everyone Else”
    by Glenn Greenwald

    https://theintercept.com/2019/02/08/jeff-bezos-protests-the-invasion-of-his-privacy-as-amazon-builds-a-sprawling-surveillance-state-for-everyone-else/

    “If Bezos were the political victim of surveillance state abuses, it would be scandalous and dangerous. It would also be deeply ironic.

    That’s because Amazon, the company that has made Bezos the planet’s richest human being, is a critical partner for the U.S. Government in building an ever-more invasive, militarized and sprawling surveillance state. Indeed, one of the largest components of Amazon’s business, and thus one of the most important sources of Bezos’ vast wealth and power, is working with the Pentagon and the NSA to empower the U.S. Government with more potent and more sophisticated weapons, including surveillance weapons.“

    1. why arent Democrats investigating Bezos and dropping Russia?
      Oh because its about power and winning back the Senate and White House

      Talk about military industrial complex

      !!!

      From the above link

      “Amazon’s extensive relationship with the NSA, FBI, Pentagon and other surveillance agencies in the west is multi-faceted, highly lucrative and rapidly growing. Last March, the Intercept reported on a new app that Amazon developers and British police forces have jointly developed to use on the public in police work, just “the latest example of third parties aiding, automating, and in some cases, replacing, the functions of law enforcement agencies — and raises privacy questions about Amazon’s role as an intermediary.”

  2. Another deserved comment or two.

    If you are invited to comment on products and say anything negative or on recommending books and dare to mention Ayn Rand as superior to any of philosopy’s fake plagiarists such as the George Lakoff (See The Elephant useful for understanding the socialist extremist mensheviks) or the spate of predecessors who followed the 1909 election of socialist Woodrow Wilson -0r-

    Dare to say anything downgrading about their product offerings and shoddy catalog which routinely leave out standard needed items of information -or-

    take them to task for supporting terrorism by selling books on now to make home made or improvised explosives and incendiaries and their ignition systems (which as sent to the standard :LEA during the previous administration. not only refused to stop retailing but expanded their sales list.

    While this can be considered in the leftist word as promoting the party what it earned me was veing listed and unsuitable for commenting. Now they want a Hundred bucks to continue membership. I think I’ll stick around and see what else they offer being as I spent many years in the military learning the counter methods and like to keep up to date in what used to be classified skills until the likes of Carter and Clinton decided to de classify.

    I recommend Anarchists Cookbook as it was written to cause it’s readers to blow themselves up . Can’t think of a better readership that the leftists.
    .

  3. Best thing I’ve seen about this incident is the newspaper headline (NY Post?) “Bezos Exposes Pecker” I nearly spit out my coffee.

  4. Turley wrote, “If Pecker and AMI are still working to advance the interests of Trump, Mueller might reconsider his past statements as well as his cooperation . . . Unless Mueller is willing to investigate his own cooperating witness . . . someone needs to investigate.”

    It’s official: Turley is a twit–a shamelessly transparent twit. Turley demands that somebody should undermine Pecker’s credibility as a witness against Trump–STAT. And if Mueller won’t undermine Pecker’s credibility as a witness against Trump, then Pecker, himself, will just have to undermine his own credibility as a witness against Trump in more or less the same way the same way that Manafort, Flynn, Cohen and Papadopoulos have each done their level-best to undermined their own credibility as witnesses against Trump at least within the febrile imagination of the shamelessly transparent twit, Professor Turley. LOL. LOL. LOL.

    1. Excerpted from an article in Slate magazine:

      On Wednesday, an agreement between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s corporate parent, was released. Federal prosecutors agreed to give AMI immunity from prosecution, for its participation in a campaign finance violation, in exchange for cooperation in the ongoing investigation of that crime.

      [end excerpt]

      The special counsel’s office is not the Southern District of New York. The cooperation agreement with SDNY gave Pecker and a few others at AMI a limited grant of immunity from prosecution for the campaign finance violation that was “directed by ‘Individual1’.” Committing fresh crimes, such as extortion, is in no way covered under the limited immunity that SDNY granted.

      Ordinarily, the complaint that Turley lodges to the effect that Pecker and a few others at AMI need to be investigated for extortion “in the interests of ‘Individual 1′”–ASAP–would, if proven true, tend to bolster the credibility of Pecker and a few others at AMI as cooperating witnesses against “Individual 1”–even if none of those cooperating witnesses were willing to testify that their extortion “in the interests of ‘Individual 1′” was also “directed by ‘Individual 1’.” But in the alternate reality inhabited by one Jonathan Turley, Pecker’s extortion of Bezos offers a feint glimmer of hope that “Individual 1” can simply dismiss the witnesses against him as so many potentially admitted extortionists.

      As though “Individual 1” had nothing to do with those potentially admitted extortionists. Just like “Individual 1” had nothing to do with Russia nor Russians. Honestly, your Honor, my client, “Individual 1” has no idea whatsoever where any of those people came from nor how any of them got to be mixed up with my client, “Individual 1.” It’s a complete and total mystery to the both of us–my client and I.

        1. Turley wrote, “. . . Chief Content Officer for AMI Dylan Howard . . . is giving the following list of possible images that could be posted . . .”

          Turley then feeds his kennel full of blawg hounds the entire list of embarrassments, bolded, in italics and super-sized. Turley does this, presumably, to bolster the case for extortion–not to sensationalize the salacious aspect of the story–so that the need fully to investigate cooperating witnesses against Trump can be . . . underscored with a greater sense of urgency. #Pecker and Howard, Lock Them Up!. Before they can testify against Trump. Lovely. Wonderful. And FUBAR.

            1. Excerpted from the article linked below:

              A quick read of AMI’s immunity agreement may result in missing a briefly noted but key point. The agreement identifies “at least one other member of the [Trump] campaign” who was present at the August 2015 meeting between Cohen and AMI officials when the seeds of the crime were planted. It has been reported that Trump was the other person, which would put him at the center of the conspiracy. If those reports are accurate, Pecker’s testimony, placing Trump at ground zero of the criminal scheme, would undo Trump’s defense that the hush money was not intended to influence the election.

              [end excerpt]

              P. S. Yada! Yada!

              1. The “IF Girl” is at it again.

                “agreement may result in” | May or may not
                “when the seeds of the crime were planted. “| IF the seeds were planted
                “It has been reported that Trump was the other person” | It has been reported that Diane grows cantaloupes in her belly button. Is that true?
                “which would put him at the center of the conspiracy.”| Relies on whether or not everything else is true and that doesn’t place Trump in the center of anything.
                “If those reports are accurate”| IF Girl again

                ARGUMENTS FROM IGNORANCE

                I think Diane would be better off with the Blah, blah , blah… video.

    2. “It’s official: Turley is a twit”

      This is your example of righteous behavior? You visit his forums to insult him for your self-aggrandizement all the while decrying the decay of our public forum?

      You and your ilk have showed Americans for the past several decades that your “ethos” has created the moral vaccum that has sucked the joy, love and tranquility they seek. You are a cancer

      It is a wonder any forums allow you to post

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above by former prosecutor Michael J. Stern:

        What is significant, from a prosecutor’s perspective, is the early decision to offer immunity to Pecker and the National Enquirer. The U.S. attorney’s move in this regard tells us a few things. First, Pecker and AMI must have already offered substantial cooperation. Next, the April raid on Cohen’s offices—said to have netted all forms of evidence, including surreptitious audio recordings—must have given federal investigators substantial evidence not just against Cohen, but also against AMI. Under ordinary circumstances, the media organization would have had a strong First Amendment defense in that choosing not to publish the Trump affair allegations was done for journalistic reasons. But AMI decided to cooperate. That would indicate that prosecutors had them dead to rights, or that it was afraid of what a fulsome investigation of AMI’s other dealings might produce.

        [end excerpt]

        Be A Straw-Man complained, “your “ethos” has created the moral vaccum [sic] . . .”

        The moral vacuum in which tabloid publishers commit extortion so as to impeach their own credibility as witnesses against “Individual 1” is an “ethos” created by the reality TV series entitled “The Apprentice.”

        P.S “You’re fired!”

      2. Estovir,…
        -Even making allowances for L4B’s difficulty with the English language, her twisting and then harping on the JT columns, and the “adjustments” she makes to the comments of others to suit her purpose, it gets tiresome seeing her clutter this site every morning with the same kind of BS.
        There was a time when JT would occasionally respond to comments/ questions from the reader.
        That was years ago when there might be an average of c. 2 dozen comments per column per day.
        Obviously, when the volume of comments often gets into the 100s, it’s not longer practical for him to do so.
        So an pompous scatterbrain like L4B can babble on and on as if she is The Expert in All Things, and as if she “knows” the inner workings of the OSC investigations and future developments in the investigation.
        And her comments and conversations, primarily with herself, will not be addressed/ challenged by JT.
        But that kind of “immunity” from responses by the author of the columns does not extend to the readers who post comments here, who occasionally mention point out that she is an arrogant, pompous fool.

        1. There’s a scroll bar for a reason. Let her babble to herself like a schizophrenic on a city bus.

        2. Also excerpted from the article linked above by former federal prosecutor Michael J Stern:

          But last week New York prosecutors filed their sentencing memo on Cohen, and it included a revelation that Cohen refused to provide full and continuing cooperation. That seems to have extinguished speculation that Cohen will be a star witness against Trump in a campaign finance case.

          As a former federal prosecutor who frequently handled prosecutions in which I gave a plea deal to one conspirator to testify against another, the potential loss of Cohen as a witness against Trump appears significant. Cohen could testify not only to the transactions that formed the bulk of the crime, he could also credibly testify to a key element of the crime: whether Trump’s purpose for the hush-money payoffs was to save his shot at the White House, rather than save his marriage.

          [end excerpt]

          Put two and two together, Gnash. It’s not hard to do. Turley is, in fact, demanding an investigation of David Pecker and Dylan Howard of AMI for possible extortion charges. Turley did, in fact, argue that extortion charges, if proven, could make Pecker and Howard’s testimony against Trump on the campaign finance violation more readily impeachable on cross-examination. Unfortunately, Turley projected that problem onto Mueller instead of SDNY. And Turley is bizarrely suggesting that witnesses against Trump who also extort silence from a critic of Trump should redound to the benefit of Trump rather than to the detriment of Trump.

          Are you sure–really sure-that you want to lodge a complaint against L4D for “twisting” Turley? Why can’t you see just how “twisted” Turley is? Are you experiencing difficulty with the English language, Ptom?

            1. Ha-Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Manafort sold Trump down the river to Kilimnik. The polling data was so “detailed” Manafort and Gates had to go to Madrid to brief Kilimnik on it. The polling data was NOT “mostly public”. But most mostly private in-house Trump polling data. And they didn’t give it to Kilimnik in the Spring of 2016. They gave it to Kilinmik on August 2nd at the Madrid briefing meeting. When Trump finds out what Manafort really did, Manafort can kiss his pardon hopes goodbye.

              When Mueller connects the polling data that Manafort and Gates gave to Kilimnik with the DNC data analytics that the GRU hacked from the AWS cloud storage, the case in chief against members of the Trump campaign knowingly receiving, accepting and soliciting an illegal foreign campaign contribution from the Russian hack and leak operation will be ready to present in the form of a speaking indictment. Ha-ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

              1. Correction: Manafort’s meeting with Kilimnik in Madrid took place in February of 2017. The meeting between Manafort, Gates and Kilimnik on August 2nd, 2016, took place at the Grand Havana Room in New York City.

                https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/07/politics/paul-manafort-hearing-kilimnik/index.html

                1 day ago … Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told a federal judge Monday that a meeting Manafort and Kilimnik had in August 2016 was “of …

                1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Fabrizio

                  Anthony Fabrizio (born 1960) is an American Republican pollster and strategist. In February 2018, he was questioned by Robert Mueller’s Special Council team about polling data shared with pro-Kremlin pro-Putin individuals. He is the principal in Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, and was the pollster for Donald Trump’s fall 2016 …

                  1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

                    In October 2016, it was reported in multiple media outlets that Trump was refusing to pay for Fabrizio’s polling services, with the Federal Election Commission report showing that Trump’s campaign was disputing nearly $767,000 that Fabrizio’s firm said it was still owed for polling.

                    1. Uh-huh. Fabrizio said the debt was resolved. I’ll take that to mean that Fabrizio got paid. I will not take that to mean that Trump paid Fabrizio. Roger Stone said that Trump “doesn’t pay for anything.” Who do you think paid Fabrizio?

                    2. “Trump “doesn’t pay for anything.””

                      Diane is quoting out of context and what she is saying is ridiculous.

          1. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-bezos-national-enquirer-20190208-story.html
            Jeff Bezos’ public statements about the Pecker/National Enquirer “offer” made it virtually inevitable that there would be an investigation of Pecker.
            This was immediately apparent, and that investigation of Pecker will continue whether or not sone moron claims that “Turley demands” an investigation.
            No one knows at this point if or how this may impact Pecker’s immunity deal. And if this development does take that deal off the table, Pecker’s
            level of cooperation with prosecutors may be impacted going forward.

            1. So it only took Tom Nash 3 hours and 15 minutes to figure out what Tom Nash calls “immediately apparent.” And the fact that Turley demanded it a full day before Tom Nash figured it out is, according to Nash, moronic??? No! Here’s what’s moronic: Claiming that “no one knows” what everyone not named Tom Nash knows; namely, that this has no impact whatsoever on Pecker’s immunity deal.

              1. Look, stupid, not everyone sits by their internet connections waiting for the latest BS to be dispensed in your daily columns.
                If you are dumb enough to make an issue out of a 3-4 hour day, then your 12-24-36-48 hour delays in responding to comments deserves more scrutiny.
                Your coven sisters/ helpers should pick up up the pace a bit.
                -Tom, go back to Benson’s explanation as to why this will probably post as “anonymous”, you dimwit.
                Memorize it.

              2. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6681863/National-Enquirer-lose-plea-deal-Bezos-blackmail.html
                “this has no impact whatsoever on Pecke’s immunity deal”.
                There are at least 10 articles from major publications that take up the issue the “Bezos issue”, and how it might impact the immunity deal that Pecker/National Enquirer have (or had).
                I chose this particular article because the headline itself summarizes the issue.
                If “everyone knows” that the opposite is true, as noted in the quoted statement, then the assumption is that “everyone” is stupid enough to believe whatever our regular early morning “expert” compulsively plasters on these threads.

                1. I concede your point. If Pecker and Howard are prosecuted for extortion, then they could also be prosecuted for the campaign finance violation for which they had been granted immunity. My mistake was based on the idea that Pecker and Howard would have had to have lied or omitted details about the campaign finance violation for which they were granted immunity in order for SDNY to revoke that grant of immunity to Pecker and Howard. I had no idea that a subsequent crime could result in revocation of immunity granted for a previous crime.

        3. Tom, There is no right or wrong for L4D and her ilk. Its whatever gets their estrogen going on a specific day that leads their selective faux outrage.

          Lt Gov Justin Fairfax now has two credible cases of sexual assault

          Democratic Party of Virginia latest group to call for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s resignation amid sexual assault allegations
          https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/09/virginia-black-caucus-dem-lawmakers-call-lt-gov-resign/2822167002/
          Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY | Updated 11:18 a.m. ET Feb. 9, 2019

          Yet there exists no media circus ala Kavanaugh with teeth gnashing and protests across the nation, even though his accuser went on selective memory, while Fairfax’s first accuser told multiple people of her assault just a few years ago

          No wonder the Left would gleefully kill an infant moments after being delivered because they just feel like it.

          1. Estivor,…
            I don’t hold L4B totally responsible for some of her comments here.
            Whatever institution/ asylum she’s been writing from previously seemed to limit her unsupervised internet time to her very early AM 3-5 hour shift.
            Now, however, there seems to be no well-defined “loon period” where she might post comments.

              1. From the above referenced Time article:

                “What pisses me off right now is that it looks like they won the Clinton wars,” he says.”

                Yup…Brock is pissed and hell hath no fury like a bitter queen losing, hence the paid trolls on this forum

                1. In the Latin translation, Peter asks Jesus, “Quō vādis?” He replies, “Rōmam eō iterum crucifīgī (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again”).

  5. Jeff Bezos may wind up like Anthony Weiner. Weiners wife, Huma Abedin, filed for divorce prior to Weiner’s guilty plea. And Jeff should be concerned about his wife MacKenzie Bezos. MacKenzie is tech savvy. She can hack a computer blindfolded, with 1 arm tied behind her back.

    1. She’s a minor novelist. I think she once worked in the financial sector and worked for Amazon in its early years.

      By all appearances, he blew up a satisfactory marriage for no very good reason.

        1. Who we are is ordinary middle-aged adults who are heirs to our ancestors. If Mrs. Bezos isn’t an alcoholic, doesn’t use street drugs, and isn’t whoring around with other men, he really doesn’t have grounds. If she’s a hoarder, he can afford storage lockers. If she’s a schizophrenic, he can afford a private asylum or 24 hour home aides. If she has a volcanic temper, he can afford boarding schools for their children and a pied a terre for himself.

      1. Emphasis on: “By all appearances.”

        Looks can (and will) be deceiving. Never judge a book by it’s cover.

        It seems like a “satisfactory marriage,” but then again, for all we know, behind close doors, perhaps, screaming matches? throwing things? you sleep on that side of the house?

        And of course, if true, then for how many years? One? Two? Ten?

        But then again, she could have been blindsided too. Out of the blue. You just never know…

        1. Looks can (and will) be deceiving. Never judge a book by it’s cover.

          The cover is what the publisher wants you to see…first!

          It seems like a “satisfactory marriage,” but then again, for all we know, behind close doors, perhaps, screaming matches? throwing things? you sleep on that side of the house?

          Welcome to domestic life. People have a full range of emotions. It is in domestic life that you see them.

    2. Jerry, MacKenzie will walk out of the marriage with around half of the Bezos fortune. With that type of money one doesn’t need to be tech savvy. She can hire the best members of the tech community and as many as she wants.

  6. Is a “besos” a South American bird which flies to Cuba from Venezualia? That is what is reported in The Daily Feast.

  7. From everything I’ve read, the soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Bezos is personable, attractive, and accomplished in her own right. The girl friend appears to be definitely on the skanky side. Is Jeff having a mid-life crisis?

  8. One would think that a man who headed an organization that excels at spying on its customers would be keenly aware of the risk of creating digital media such as these alleged photographs and sending them to another person.

    That said I believe what happened to him is actionable at least in civil court but I would also argue it could be criminal as well.

    1. Darren, Bezos is a very public figure. I think the National Enquirer might be stretching the envelope but I think the idea of a bribe can be explained away. The letter could be taken as a kind of settlement to end a dispute.

  9. I kinda disagree with parts of the analysis on this one. The only thing I agree with is the statement that [covering sleazy gossip of public persons ] is what the National Enquirer does. Likewise, many (including me) would argue that the Washington Post, under Bezos, has turned into a tabloid publication, replacing news with opinion, rumor, and politically-motivated innuendo, over and over aain, with impunity. For these and other reasons, I see it as more of two sensationalized-headline sleazy publications going at each other and negotiating to cease. They deserve each other. I will take WSJ anyday.

  10. ADD DAVID PECKER TO LIST OF DUBIOUS TRUMP ASSOCIATES

    Professor Turley correctly identifies David Pecker as a close friend of Donald Trump. The National Enquirer led many attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign including false stories about her health.

    Yet Donald Trump has never accused the National Enquirer of being ‘fake news’. That designation only goes to sources critical of Trump; like The Washington Post which is owned by Jeff Bezos.

    Here again we must ask: “What are so many sleaze-balls linked to Donald Trump?”

    David Pecker joins a list that includes, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Felix Sater, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn and Anthony Scaramucci.

    One can only conclude there is something about Donald Trump’s style in business and politics that attracts sleaze-ball types.

    1. Peter H.

      Good points and all true.

      Did you ever worry that the Clinton WH attracted at least as large and equally corrupt list of “sleaze-ball types”?

      Did you ever wonder about the Obama regime’s list of “sleaze-ball types” (remember Tony Rezo and that house loan)?

      My point isn’t that the shenanigans of Clinton and Obama excuse Trump, but rather that the WH attracts sleaze balls whichever president is in office.

      I suspect that your outrage is more political than moral.

      1. Monument, Republicans desperately wanted to stick Obama with a Special Counsel probe. But the closest they ever got was the Benghazi investigation which centered mostly on Clinton. And the Benghazi investigation never found any formal wrongdoing by either Clinton or Obama.

        So it seems your comment is an effort to shoehorn false equivalencies into this discussion.

        1. The Department of Justice is an arm of the Democratic Party, which is why even the most egregious Obama scandals were all buried. This isn’t that difficult, Peter.

          1. Tabby, feel free to show me an article from a recognized publication that says the Justice Department is “an arm of the Democratic party”.

            By even ‘your’ standards, Tabby, this claim is way over-the-top in terms of raw cynicism.

            It confirms, once again, how right-wing media dumbs people down. You’re so comfortable in the right-wing media bubble, that a claim like this would go uncontested among fellow Trumpers. But ‘outside’ the right-wing media bubble a claim like is strictly over-the-top, as I pointed out.

            1. Tabby, feel free to show me an article from a recognized publication that says the Justice Department is “an arm of the Democratic party”.

              Egads you say stupid things. It would be established in your addled head if some NBC News anchor said “The Department of Justice is an arm of the Democratic Party”?

              Peter, you simply ignored the entire imbroglio over the IRS in 2013 and 2014 and have ignored what the Department of Justice has been up to since 2016 in re Trump. You can do that, because you’re a political partisan without much integrity.

              1. Tabby, it was Republican congressional committees that investigated Benghazi (at a cost $7 million). They hired their own investigators. I’m not sure if the Justice Department even had anything to do with those investigations..

                Regarding the IRS, the vast majority of the so-called ‘Social Welfare Groups’ the IRS scrutinzied really were conservative political fronts. And that’s ‘why’ Republicans were so outraged. The IRS upset their funding. Lesser known is the fact that the IRS looked at some liberal political fronts as well. I’m okay with that. I don’t see why “Social Welfare” status should enable bundlers to distribute political funds.

                No one at the IRS was ever indicted. But Republicans made an all-out effort to intimidate that agency. They even cut IRS funding by to 25%. Consequently tax cheats are now less likely to get caught. What’s more The Treasury is bringing in less revenue because the IRS is understaffed. The ‘real’ IRS scandal was the ham-fisted tactics Republicans used in that bogus investigation.

                1. The real scandal is income tax primarily used to controls citizens money and the change in election procedures for Senators to control States Rights were ever voted into existence. Thus the tyranny of socialism under it’s alt name Democracy and and the use of fascist tactics against our Consitutional Republic began.

                1. If true, it might because of the lack of intelligence in the conservative movement. Instead, it is nothing but spiteful people who are beginning to realize they are no longer special.

        2. Have the courage to tell the families of the Benghazi fallen and survivors that politics, and Clinton in particular, had nothing to do with it. Tell them how it was really about an Internet video. Also tell the family of Brian Terry that politics, Clinton, or Holder, had nothing to do with firearms walking over the boarder and it was all the NRA’s fault. Explain to the estimated 500,000 dead from the Syrian conflict that the “red line” was just a joke.

          The Left has long had blood on its hands yet is rarely held accountable.

          1. “The Left has long had blood on its hands yet is rarely held accountable.”

            …And now the left is talking about killing babies after they are outside the woman’s body. Some leftists have written about “abortion” up to the age where the child can care for himself or herself.

  11. More stench from the fat turd called Trump. His tabloid buddy Pecker, who killed stories on Trump’s sexual peccadillos to help reel in the gullible Evangelicals for the 2016 election, tries to intimidate the owner of one of the most-venerated newspapers on earth that, like most media, criticize Trump. Coincidentally, Pecker somehow has access to private information illegally hacked, which he is trying to use to help Trump. Where have I heard about that before? Here’s a little factoid: Bezos owns The Washington Post, but he is not the editor. According to reporting, he rarely comes around and allows the editors to do their jobs without any influence or interference from him. Bezos never directed the WaPo to investigate the political motivations behind reporting by The National Enquirer (if that’s what you want to call what they do). If Pecker knew more about how Bezos operates, he would have known that Bezos wouldn’t try to control what the Editors of the WaPo do. He respects them as journalists and defers to their judgment. He respected the quality of journalism and reputation of The WaPo, which is why he purchased it.

    Turley claims that: “The fact is that the coverage of Bezos is exactly what the National Enquirer does. He is a celebrity and the tabloid runs sensational stories about celebrities. This is a grocery store tabloid that traffics in gossip. There is nothing particularly atypical or unpredictable in running this story. ” I beg to differ. Bezos is famous because he is the wealthiest person on earth and because he owns Amazon and The WaPo,, but he is not a celebrity. There is indeed a difference. He is not comparable, for example, to Tom Cruise or Bradley Cooper. Most people don’t know much about Bezos and his family because he’s not a celebrity. Does The Enquirer run gossipy stories about whoever owns E-Bay, the Shopping Network or QVC? No, but then, they don’t own newspapers critical of Trump.

    Then, there’s the ham handed lawyer. What is it about Trump, and now Pecker, that causes them to be surrounded by incompetent and unethical lawyers who go around, mafia-style, threatening people?

    1. “More stench from the fat turd called Trump.”

      – Nutchacha
      __________

      Undoubtedly you are an authority on the subject of f– t—s.

      I presume this is a practical demonstration of your capacity and superiority.

      Can we get rid of “Generational Welfare” and “Affirmative Action Privilege” now?

      Can we get rid of restrictions on the use of the B-word and the N-word now?

      Can we end the “cultural appropriation” of America by freed slaves and their descendants now?

      Can we dispense with hysteria, incoherence and the 19th Dumbmendment and restore the composure and coherence of the Constitution and the American Founders?

      Enough is enough, right?

    2. https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/356253-judging-by-muellers-staffing-choices-he-may-not-be-very-interested-in
      The comment about “unethical lawyers who go around, mafia-style, threatening people” raises some interesting questions all the way around.
      A fairly common answer would be that a favorable or unfavorable view of those tactics hinges on which side of the fence those types of lawyers are working.
      I personally have had good overall experiences, in the areas of ethics and competence, with the lawyers I’ve known, or worked with, or hired.
      But if for some reason I chose to hire a sleazy lawyer, he’d need to be MY sleazy lawyer working for my goals to be an “acceptable sleazy lawyer”.😉

    3. The stink comes from the breath wafting from your mouth. What did the kid say in Poltergeist? I cant recall exactly, maybe you do?

      Anyhow the Wapo and another Bezos property Foreign Affairs march in lockstep. I dont read wapo other than the obnoxious articles that show up here all the time, but I read Foreign Affairs and it seems to march lockstep. So much for Bezos not exerting editorial influence.

      Here’s another movie for ya a scene from Citizen Kane that explains it well enough

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9OUZNicTGU

      the owner can lose a lot of money driving his editorial points home is the bottom line in mass media. it’s about like the artillery, it’s the queen of battle

  12. Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of his Privacy as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State For Everyone Else

    by Glenn Greenwald

    February 8, 2019

    https://theintercept.com/2019/02/08/jeff-bezos-protests-the-invasion-of-his-privacy-as-amazon-builds-a-sprawling-surveillance-state-for-everyone-else/

    “JEFF BEZOS IS AS ENTITLED as anyone else to his personal privacy. The threats from the National Enquirer are grotesque. If Bezos’ preemptive self-publishing of his private sex material reduces the unwarranted shame and stigma around adult consensual sexual activities, that will be a societal good.

    “But Bezos, given how much he works and profits to destroy the privacy of everyone else (to say nothing of the labor abuses of his company), is about the least sympathetic victim imaginable of privacy invasion. In the past, hard-core surveillance cheerleaders in Congress such as Dianne Feinstein, Pete Hoekstra, and Jane Harmon became overnight, indignant privacy advocates when they learned that the surveillance state apparatus they long cheered had been turned against them.

    “Perhaps being a victim of privacy invasion will help Jeff Bezos realize the evils of what his company is enabling. Only time will tell. As of now, one of the world’s greatest privacy invaders just had his privacy invaded. As the ACLU put it: “Amazon is building the tools for authoritarian surveillance that advocates, activists, community leaders, politicians, and experts have repeatedly warned against.””

    1. From the Greenwald article:

      “If the surveillance powers of the NSA, FBI or other agencies were used to obtain incriminating information about Bezos due to their view of him as a political enemy – and, again, there is no evidence this has happened – it certainly would not be the first time. Those agencies have a long and shameful history of doing exactly that, which is why the Democratic adoration for those agencies, and the recent bipartisan further empowerment of them, was so disturbing.

      “Indeed, one of the stories we were able to report using the Snowden documents, one that received less attention that it should have, is an active NSA program to collect the online sex activities, including browsing records of porn site and sex chats, of people regarded by the U.S. Government as radical or radicalizing in order to use their online sex habits to destroy their reputations. This is what and who the NSA, CIA and FBI are and long have been.”

    2. Amazon is hardly alone but at least Amazon generates revenue outside of advertising. Look at Google and Facebook; particularly at their revenue statements. Google paid more in fines than taxes [1]. Google was happy to aid the Chinese censor content until it blew up in their face [2]. Facebook has a list of privacy grievances that rivals Google.

      So, why pick on Amazon? Because Amazon *openly* works with the USG and Law Enforcement.

      [1] Google Paid More In EU Fines Than Taxes Last Year; Warns Data Privacy Changes Could Hurt Business
      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-06/google-paid-more-eu-fines-taxes-last-year-revenue-threatened-over-data-privacy

      [2] Google halted Chinese data collection program after Dragonfly backlash
      https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/17/18144880/google-dragonfly-265-backlash-censored-search-engine

      [3] The scale of location tracking by our smartphone apps has been exposed

  13. The Turley blog might consider the topic of whether J. Edgar Hoover was behind the murders of JFK, RFK and MLK. The article in the National Inquirer last week had some revelations about the topic.

  14. In the U.S states also have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes. My daughter just learned that in 8th grade . . .

  15. In what I find to be an interesting twist, Jon Fine’s LinkedIn profile indicates he was previously employed at Amazon for 9 years.

  16. It seems as if the Washington Post who deems itself smarter than all of the rest of us is just a shoddy tabloid with higher connections. How many stories have they written they have incorrect information and put out a vicious political sting. Once the story is printed it becomes fact to those who worship at its door.

    1. The Washington Post fell far below the National Enquirer‘s usual standards of conduct by publishing falsehoods about minors, specifically, the students from Covington Catholic High, then publishing editorial opinion articles which fueled the hue and cry against those young people.

      I’d like to see THAT followed up in court. Between the Post’s journalistic malpractice, that of the New York Times‘s Maggie Haberman (and their editorial board in publishing her rants), and CNN’s misrepresentation of fact about the Covington kid, the actual mass of journalistic malpractice and libel far exceeds that’s described in this article.

      But no one cares about bullying when the Left’s doing it. No one, especially, in the national news media.

      1. No one on the left cares about racism either when it is one of their own. That is why the Governor of Virginia is hoping to hide out for awhile

  17. “Did National Enquirer Extort Jeff Bezos?”

    Who cares?

    Two sleazy news organizations get into a fight and lawyers cooperate in the sleazy action. The cause of all of this is the shopper who picks up either newspaper and spends their hard earned cash on trash.

        1. Kurtz, some of my news is from a consolidator similar to Axios or Drudge but not open to the public. I don’t subscribe to Breitbart though occasionally read their articles and I didn’t recognize rt.com.

      1. Peter, I don’t have a favorite. The news source that ends up in my home on a daily basis so happens to be the NYTimes, but I don’t pay for it, not that I mind paying rather I wouldn’t give them a dime. The second news source that ends up on my computer almost daily is the Washington Post because you are always posting articles from them along with what you think you learned from the articles. That newspaper probably provides the most fun because I laugh at almost everything you say because you are ridiculous. The WSJ of the three seems to be the best paper, but it is not my favorite either.

        I like factual videos so though not a newspaper I do follow James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas. He actually provides proof of Democratic law breaking on video. One doesn’t have to analyze anything when a Democratic operative admits to wrongdoing on tape. But that is not a newspaper. I like Judicial Watch because I don’t have to listen to their opinion rather I can read the documents released that demonstrate how the Democrats have tried to keep us in the dark and how they have broken the laws. I like primary sources. There are many other sources out there but you should start utilizing what those two sources have to offer. There are many other sources of factual primary information rather than secondary information that regurgitates what some third party believes and you drink without any comprehension of what you are drinking.

  18. “Live by the sword…”

    Mr. Bezos certainly uses the WaPo as an attack paper against Trump; he has to expect pushback.

    Plus if Mr. Bezos is so proud of his physical attributes and mails them in an unsecured manner, then he certainly can’t complain when they get made public (don’t judges consistently violate our 4th amendment right by stating that we had “no reasonable expectation of privacy”?).

    Lastly, Ms. Sanchez has certainly be “active” socially; I believe that by now, she is beyond embarrassment.

      1. YNOT is telling someone to read? How amazing. YNOT, there are two basic elements in the process of reading. 1. decoding 2.comprehension. YNOT hasn’t got past #1.

            1. Anonymous Diane, brainless and envious. One plays on a blog but lives in a house or a boat. Go back to your room you are renting in a trailer.

                1. You paint a good picture of a trailer. Anonymous Diane’s picture of a trailer is a one room rental on the wrong side of town.

                  I have travelled to many of the National Parks and love them but I like to drive a car and stay at a nice hotel preferably in the National Park. Unfortunately some of those hotels are lousy, but I have stayed in Paradise many times despite the lousy accomodations. That hotel has been redone so I think I will go back. If you like hiking and perhaps climbing to the summit of a mountain (not necessary) that is an excellent place to go if you hit the right weeks. Paradise is at the tree line.

      2. Yeah, it’s called the news. The most unbelievable part of this story is that Jeff Bezos would actually send d*ck pics to his mistress over his smart phone! Did Bozo not see what happened to Weiner?! And don’t get me started on the other names involved in this story — a publisher named Mr. Pecker, a lawyer named Mr. Fine?

        If you find this Bozo d*ck pic blackmail story outrageous, did you hear ‘the news’ of what’s been going on at the Catholic church?

        It seems the Pope has admitted that nuns were being used as ‘sex slaves’ by Catholic priests. (And this is not a National Enquirer story!)

        Yes, now we learn that it was not just abuse of young boys by Catholic priests, but Catholic nuns were being sexually abused by priests as well.
        And some nuns were even having abortions or giving birth to illegitimate babies conceived through sex slavery by Catholic priests. O.M.G.

        Who needs to watch television dramas anymore? Just watch “the news.” 😉

        1. “…send d*ck pics to his mistress over his smart phone! “

          SMALL phone. FTFY

          Yeah, Bezos has a small one considering we have looked for the pics. Meh
          Small peckers, huge egos, mighty lies…..Dank dccks die in dreary drip, drip, drip 😂

          Bob and Jim

    1. If you cant show your stick to your girlfriend who can you show it to? Of course he retains his expectation of privacy.

      I have news for some of the people here who live in a bubble but it’s actually normal for a married rich man to have a girlfriend. Maybe not right but totally normal and unsurprising.

      Anyhow I dislike the Wapo and Bozos vendetta against Trump. But amazon is a tantastic business..

      1. I have news for some of the people here who live in a bubble but it’s actually normal for a married rich man to have a girlfriend. Maybe not right but totally normal and unsurprising.

        No, it’s not normal. It might be common (and definitely is in the old sense of the term). Wouldn’t bet that it’s aught but a minority phenomenon.

        1. Who cares? However, when one looks at the important issue upper middle class and rich have less out of wedlock babies than the rest.

          1. I’m seldom interested in the domestic life of strangers. However, you don’t want a social ethic which legitimates adultery and renders it something which has no effect on one’s standing. See Roger L. Simon on the development of this culture in France as he witnessed it.

            The one qualified exception is that mild economy for adultery is preferable to legitimation of expressive divorce. Most divorce suits are motivated by banal discontent, not actual misconduct by one party or the other. This is bad.

            1. “I’m seldom interested in the domestic life of strangers.”

              Does that mean that all that interest reovolves around neighbor’s”?😀

              It appears to me that the habits of the left have a tendency to destroy families and destroy nations. The latest action we see from the left on this score is the killing of babies even after they are detached from the mother. I just want to make sure that people know that at least in the recent past if not so today both in France and Switzerland infants born below a certain weight or height (which criteria belongs to which country I do not remember) are left to die on the table.

      2. It depends on just how Mr Bezos showed his stick to his girlfriend, but a secured smartphone connection seems as though it would reasonably be deemed private.

        And that means, in addition to all the other kinds of liability Prof. Turley described Mr. Fine and his clients being heir to, they may also be on the hook for applicable Federal and state wiretapping and/or anti-hacking laws.

        But attorney Fine obviously believes that when you’re breaking the law, “go big or go home”.

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