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Keyser Söze is REAL, y'all! He's HERE! And he will burn this shit to the ground before he lets a couple of two-bit tabloid hacks blackmail his ass. You threaten to publish Jeff Bezos's dick pics? He will whip that sucker out and unroll it right across the table. And he'll put it on the internet, because FUCK YOU IS WHY.

In case you missed Bezos's little bombshell, our nation's second favorite mommyblogger penned a Medium post last night.

"Something unusual happened to me yesterday," he began. What had happened was those vampires at the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), emailed him an explicit threat to publish semi-naked selfies of Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez if the Washington Post didn't kill a story suggesting that the Enquirer's coverage of Bezos was politically motivated. Yes, the magazine that was just six months ago granted an immunity deal after admitting to participating in a criminal conspiracy to help Donald Trump's campaign, the same magazine that accused Ted Cruz's father of being part of the plot to assassinate JFK and flogged ten thousand lies about Hillary Clinton's health after Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone suggested that might be a good plan, the guys who spent decades killing stories that might be embarrassing to publisher David Pecker's pal Donald Trump -- those assholes are GRRRR SO MAD that anyone would suggest their editorial decisions are based on something other than the highest journalistic ethics? How very dare you!

We're not going to go back over the weird connection between Lauren Sanchez's Trump-loving brother Michael and wingnut demi-monde figures Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes. We already talked about those dipshits -- twice. But when The Daily Beast reported that Bezos's security chief, Gavin de Becker, strongly suspected Sanchez of leaking his sister's texts and that the Enquirer's publication was politically motivated, we weren't exactly FOR SHOCKED. Donald Trump certainly seems to have appreciated the favor.


Enquirer editor Dylan Howard, who was reportedly incensed that Bezos ruined his beautiful scoop by going home and telling his wife and kids about the affair instead of letting them find out when the magazine published his stolen texts, laid out the quid pro quo in an email to Bezos Tuesday night:

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.

He then went on to describe photos of Bezos's "semi-erect manhood [...] penetrating the zipper of said garment" and Sanchez's "nether regions." Because Dylan Howard watches a lot of soft-core porn, ALLEGEDLY. And because Dylan Howard is a piece of shit who sent a reporter to interview Rose McGowan for the express purpose of helping Harvey Weinstein find out what she had on him. NOT ALLEGEDLY. Anyway, there was a whole lot more squicky shit, but we're not going include it, because other people's marriages are nobody's goddamn business.

While Howard was willing to show his cards by tying the photos directly to the Post story, AMI's lawyer Jon Fine was more circumspect, adding in some "terms" to make it look less like out-and-out extortion and more like a real business deal. To wit, if Bezos and his security chief de Becker will just issue a statement saying the Enquirer is right and good to publish Bezos's personal texts and in no way motivated by loyalty to Donald Trump, then Dylan Howard and David Pecker will put those photos of Bezos's pink bits back in the vault and pinky swear not to publish them unless they unilaterally decide that Bezos is being mean to them again. What a deal!

In another email Fine told de Becker's attorney Martin Singer:

Once again, as I advised you in my February 1 response to your January 31 correspondence, American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise. Simply put, this was and is a news story.

Yet, it is our understanding that your client's representatives, including the Washington Post, continue to pursue and to disseminate these false and spurious allegations in a manner that is injurious to American Media and its executives.

Accordingly, we hereby demand that you cease and desist such defamatory conduct immediately. Any further dissemination of these false, vicious, speculative and unsubstantiated statements is done at your client's peril. Absent the immediate cessation of the defamatory conduct, we will have no choice but to pursue all remedies available under applicable law.

Awww, are AMI's wee feefees hurt? Did the people who've claimed that Jennifer Aniston was continuously pregnant for the past twenty years and who routinely publish fatshaming photos of celebrities playing with their kids get their panties in a bunch because someone accused them of the very conduct which they admitted to in federal court filings six months ago? REALLY?

And then Fine said this, which may or may not come back to haunt him:

As I advised previously, we stand by the legality of our newsgathering and reporting on this matter of public interest and concern. Moreover, American Media is undeterred from continuing its reporting on a story that is unambiguously in the public interest — a position Mr. Bezos clearly appreciates as reflected in Boies Schiller January 9 letter to American Media stating that your client "does not intend to discourage reporting about him" and "supports journalistic efforts."

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. Dylan Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience.

So, let's get this straight, Counselor. You're standing by the news value of Bezos's "dick picks," as Dylan Howard calls them. And it's a vile slander to say that your clients would sully their journalistic integrity by allowing outside influence to dictate their editorial decisions. But if Jeff Bezos will just kill a story by his "representatives" at the Washington Post, then AMI will "engage in constructive conversations" about an editorial decision to kill a story with high news value that includes photos of the billionaire's dick.

UMMM ....

We're assuming that Mr. Fine did not anticipate this letter seeing the light of day. Perhaps he's sent a version of it so many times that he ceased to think about how it might look quoted in every newspaper in the country. BAD, dude, it looks really, really BAD. But does it meet the federal definition of extortion in 18 U.S. Code § 875(d)?

Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Superlawyer Ted Boutros, who briefly represented Karen McDougal in her suit against the Enquirer, tells the Washington Post, it's "a textbook example of blackmail and extortion. It's ripped right out of the law books." But former prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggests extortionate intent would be difficult to prove, since Fine couched it in the language of a normal business negotiation.

So maybe SDNY and the New York Attorney General will just let this one slide. Or maybe they won't. And that's the kind of thing you really don't want to roll the dice on. Because if you're wrong, YOU AND YOUR CLIENT CAN BOTH GO TO JAIL. Don't forget, Manhattan prosecutors were willing to connect the dots and call AMI's protection deal with Trump an illegal campaign finance contribution, and they put Donald Trump's lawyer in jail for conduct undertaken to protect his client. Do we think flimsy assertions of journalistic privilege are going to hold those pit bulls at bay? We do not!

Besides which, SDNY prosecutors will be in no mood to play after they granted Howard and Pecker immunity based on their explicit promise to go forth and sin no more, particularly when those sins include weaponizing their publication to assist Donald Trump, who tweets about his demented rage-boner for Bezos on the regular. (See a doctor for rage-boners that last for more than six months, or which impair your ability to get off the couch and stop tweeting.)

And we're not getting too deep down that rabbithole on the beginning of a crazy news day, but Bezos suggests there may well be a Saudi connection to this story. Which he got from leakers inside AMI, because live by the sword, die by the sword.

Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is "apoplectic" about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.

Why would AMI risk blowing up their immunity deal with SDNY by fucking with the world's richest man? What part of the Washington Post's reporting caused them to flip their shit and try to extort -- colloquially, if not legally -- a guy with infinity resources to come after them?

Well, that would do it. WHOA, IF COMPLETELY SPECULATIVELY TRUE.

For his part, Bezos claims to be taking one for the team: "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)" And indeed The Daily Beast, the AP, and The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow confirm that the Enquirer similarly threatened them with either personal humiliation or expensive litigation if those publications didn't alter their own stories.

Which is an odd way to behave for guys who risk going to jail if federal prosecutors decide they've breached their plea agreement by committing further crimes. We are just saying.

For his part, Bezos was silent on his future legal plans. Will he be suing AMI and Pecker and Howard personally for invasion of privacy? Intentional infliction of emotional distress? Civil extortion? Copyright infringement? Gosh, it would be a goddamn shame if he took those bastards for every penny they were worth. Hope Ol' Jeff can afford a good lawyer!

HAHAHAHA!!! We are silly today.

OH, HEY UPDATE! AMI finally finished changing their soiled Underoos, and they just released a statement. Turns out that they never did nothing wrong, Howard and Pecker are just the coffee boys who volunteered for a very brief time, and the company's board will launch an internal investigation to figure out that nothing untoward or, perish the thought, illegal happened here.

American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary.

LOLOLOL, FUCK YOU.

media0.giphy.com

[Medium / The Daily Beast / AMI Immunity Agreement]

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