connectVideoHoward Kurtz: Why is the brother of Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend consulted Carter Page, Roger Stone
‘MediaBuzz’ host Howard Kurtz weighs in on the backstage battle brewing among the people to advise Jeff Bezos on how he should proceed in his public feud with The National Enquirer.
Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend has privately admitted that they shared a number of photos and texts of the founder of the Amazon, with a number of female friends, to add to the mystery of who leaked obscene material to the National Enquirer, according to a source close to the couple.
Moreover, the girlfriend, tv personality Lauren Sanchez, also had the contents of her computer and downloaded on her assistant’s computer for safekeeping, according to the source.
What’s more, researchers Bezos are aware that Sanchez shared photos and texts, because, with her cooperation, they were able to trace the material in the cloud, where the most computer-and telephone-messages and images are stored.
It cannot be determined whether the material that Sanchez shared with friends was sexually explicit. But it puts the probe in a new light on a moment that Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, accuses the West of, the parent company of attempting to blackmail him about the yet-to-be-published nude pictures and intimate texts.
The firm, American Media Inc., property of President Trump ‘s friend David Pecker, has ensured that it obtained the Bezos texts and pictures lawfully.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Pecker’s lawyer, Advantages Abramowitz, while saying that there is “absolutely” no blackmail or extortion, to describe the leaker as a man, “someone who is close to both Bezos and Miss Sanchez,” who has provided information to the Researcher for seven years. Abramowitz declined to say whether he was talking about Michael Sanchez, Lauren’s brother, which has drawn scrutiny in the case.
The Daily Beast cited “multiple sources within AMI” as to say that Michael Sanchez, provided that the Bezos texts to the West.
Asked to comment, Sanchez told me: “Several possible suspects in the leak were investigated. Of all the possible suspects, I am the only one who never had access to under-the-belt selfies. So any attempt to imply me in this is 100 percent false.”
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The source said Lauren Sanchez also shared a few innocent Bezos texts and photos with her brother, including a photo of the couple located on a mountaintop, out of a feeling of love and pride. The researchers are not asked to investigate Michael Sanchez computer or phone.
Gavin de Becker, the leading security consultant who is monitoring the probe for Bezos, declined to comment.
The Becker has an interview with Michael Sanchez as part of the leak probe, and for that reason dismissed Sanchez’s disparaging comments about him. Bezos has called Becker “one of the smartest and most capable leaders that I know.”
Sanchez himself said, Bezos and his sister when the story broke that he would have to be examined because of his proximity to the couple. He specifically assured them that he was not the leaker.
Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager has tried, with little success, to play a peace role. Days for the Researcher published the story about Bezos’ affair, the tabloid sent Sanchez a letter — 44-bullet points — request for comments.
Michael Sanchez is scheduled to fly to New York to find out what evidence the tabloid had and try to soften the story, to point to any factual inaccuracies. He made arrangements to sit down with Dylan Howard, a good friend of mine who is the tabloid-business news executive. Sanchez is held in the communication with the couple and the Becker about his role of the intermediary and the plans for a conference call with them after he was informed about the details of the pending of the Researcher story.
But Bezos decided that, instead of the story by tweeting about his planned divorce from his wife, McKenzie. At that point, AMI executives refused to meet with Sanchez and soon appeared the piece.
Still, Michael Sanchez kept trying to broker a cease-fire. He arranged a photo with Lauren Sanchez as they went to Santa Monica airport and got on a helicopter, with an AMI in the Us the Weekly run of the “exclusive” photos under the headline “All Smiles: First Pictures Showing Jeff Bezos’ Girlfriend Lauren Sanchez Carefree After Scandal.”
But that limited cooperation imploded at the end of last week, when Bezos accused AMI of trying to blackmail him, placing a company’s e-mail to suggest that his nude selfies could be published unless it is stopped with the accusing the Researcher of a politically motivated hit job.
The behind-the-scenes fight turns on fundamental questions about Bezos’ strategy. He Is a journalistic hero, praised by Bob Woodward, taking a brave stand against the terrible tabloid tactics? Or, as Michael Sanchez has argued, has Bezos inflamed the situation and turned out to be a painful episode in a non-stop national soap opera?
Michael Sanchez is a Trump supporter, and his connections with the Trump World figures caught in the Robert Mueller, the probe, also under scrutiny in the light of the well-known disagreement between the president and the Bezos.
Sanchez has twice met Roger Stone, who pleaded not guilty to the offences, and Carter Page, by means of a minor business deal. But he is in contact with both men about the leaks and whether they might involve hacking, on the basis of electronic correspondence.
In fact, Michael Sanchez suggested that the Becker, and possibly Bezos himself, sitting with Page in a safe place to discuss the safety aspects of the leak. The Becker seemed interested, but no meeting of the ground. Sanchez told me that Bezos, his sister, and Becker knew of every conversation he has had with the Page, and Stone. The Washington Post reported that both Page and Stone have denied any involvement in the Bezos leak.
The stakes are sky-high for all parties. AMI is under an immunity deal with federal prosecutors, after Peter recognized his involvement in hush-money payments to Trump accusers, and any finding of inappropriate behavior can have legal consequences.
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Lauren Sanchez, a former L. A. tv presenter, an entertainment correspondent, host of Fox’s “So you Think you Can Dance” and runs a film production company. She is married to Patrick Whitesell, co-CEO of powerhouse talent agency William Morris Endeavor.
Bezos is not only faced with personal embarrassment, but his divorce may have an impact in the Amazon, fortune and perhaps the company itself.