A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, took the unprecedented step of writing a blog post in which he outed The National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, for allegedly attempting to blackmail him. In the post, he claimed that they had gotten a hold of intimate texts between him and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. According to Bezos, they also claimed to be in possession of photos of his private parts. The National Enquirer had previously revealed the existence of the relationship and claimed that it had started while Bezos was still a married man.
Ever since the story broke, there has been speculation that Michael Sanchez, Lauren’s brother, leaked the texts. On Sunday, March 3, Gabriel Sherman, a journalist with Vanity Fair, tweeted that a source “close to AMI” informed him that Michael was the leak and that he was paid $250,000 for the racy texts.
The Daily Beast has also previously published an article which cited an AMI insider who named him as their source.
Michael Sanchez previously denied sending the photos in an interview with The Washington Post, a news outlet owned by Bezos.
“There is one piece of evidence that’s exculpatory: I never in a million years would be able to give Jeff’s [naked] pix to AMI because I never had them,” he said. “If AMI has them, they came from others. Period.”
As The Daily Beast notes, an attorney for David Pecker, AMI’s chairman and CEO, told ABC’s This Week that the source was “well known to both Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez.”
A source close to AMI says the National Enquirer paid Michael Sanchez “$250K” for Lauren and Bezos’s sexts
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) March 4, 2019
A profile by Time Magazine describes Michael Sanchez as a talent manager who has previously worked at MTV. He has also previously voiced pro-Trump opinions on social media and has parroted some of the president’s frequent talking points, like describing the Mueller investigation as McCarthyism. He also appears to have once written a letter to the editor at the Los Angeles Times in which he called himself a “strong supporter of Trump.”
A recent investigative article in Vanity Fair claims that Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez are still dating, despite the scandal. According to the piece, they were together on Valentine’s Day at his apartment in New York City. They also reportedly discussed going to the Oscars together on February 24, but it’s clear that the idea was scrapped because he attended the event by himself.
In his interview with Vanity Fair, Michael Sanchez appeared to hint that he had a part to play in the leak, but he denied having anything to do with the racy photos getting into AMI’s clutches.
“I’m not saying I didn’t do something,” he said. “Until I go under oath, what I can tell you now is that ever since April 20, when I met Jeff, my only goal has been to protect Jeff and Lauren.”
— AltaJournal (@AltaJournal) March 3, 2019