- The Daily Beast on Sunday cited multiple unnamed sources as saying it was Michael Sanchez, the brother of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ mistress, Lauren Sanchez, who obtained the couple’s private text messages and passed them to The National Enquirer.
- Michael Sanchez had previously emerged as a suspect in the leaks. AMI, the tabloid’s parent company, had hinted earlier Sunday that a “reliable” source close to the two people provided “information.”
- In an extraordinary public statement last week, Bezos blogged that the Enquirer had threatened to release more photos if he did not publicly walk back his suspicion that the leak was politically motivated.
The Daily Beast on Sunday cited multiple unnamed sources as saying that the brother of Jeff Bezos’ mistress was the one who provided text messages of a sexual nature between the couple to the National Enquirer.
The Daily Beast cited “multiple sources” inside the tabloid’s parent company, American Media Inc., as well as another source close to AMI leaders as saying that Lauren Sanchez’s brother, Michael, was the source of the compromising texts.
During the interview, however, Elkan Abramowitz, a lawyer for AMI and the tabloid’s CEO, David Pecker, did deny Bezos’ allegations in a bombshell blog post last week that the tabloid had tried to blackmail him.
“It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail,” Abramowitz told ABC on Sunday.
“What happened was the story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source that had been given information to the National Enquirer for seven years prior to the story,” he said. “It was a source that was well known to both Mr. Bezos and Miss Sanchez.”
The Daily Beast said that it put the question to Sanchez’s brother more than six times but that he declined to respond. His name had previously been linked to the episode when The Daily Beast first reported on January 31 that Bezos had hired a private investigator who considered him to be a suspect.
Michael Sanchez is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump and is an associate of Trump-linked figures including Carter Page and the recently indicted Roger Stone.
Abramowitz on Sunday dropped hints that the source was a longtime associate of the tabloid.
“Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was,” the lawyer said.
In his Thursday blog post accusing the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him, Bezos also suggested Pecker’s closeness to Trump and the Enquirer’s ties to Saudi Arabia might have prompted the Enquirer’s publication of the intimate texts in the first place because Bezos owns The Washington Post, which has reported critically of both Trump and Saudi Arabia.
“It was not the White House. It was not Saudi Arabia,” Abramowitz said Sunday. “And the libel that was going out there slamming AMI was that this was all a political hatchet job sponsored by either a foreign nation or somebody politically in this country.”
In the blog post, Bezos said AMI had alerted him that the Enquirer had more racy texts between him and Lauren Sanchez including photos. The tabloid threatened to publish them, Bezos said, unless he put out a statement that he and the investigator he hired to look into the Enquirer’s reporting “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
“If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they will publish the photos, and quickly,” Bezos said.
His blog post went on to outline what he said were efforts by AMI to get him to deny that the tabloid’s exposé of his affair had any political agenda or origin.
According to The Daily Beast, another source in “extensive communication” with senior leaders at AMI also said that Michael Sanchez was the supplier of the offending texts.
Business Insider contacted Michael Sanchez for comment.