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Pour one out for American Media Inc.'s David Pecker! He tried to extort the richest man in the world ALLEGEDLY, and now Dad's taking away the car keys. Looks like the hedge fund guys who bailed his sorry ass out the last time are grabbing him by the (ahem) pecker and forcing him to sell off the National Enquirer, his prized possession. Or as Pecker dribbled out limply, "We feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership."

Don't worry, David, it happens to lots of guys!


Last year, the Enquirer's parent company AMI got a $400 million cash infusion from Chatham Asset Management, giving the hedge fund an 80 percent stake in the business. Approximately five minutes after the check cleared, AMI's Viper in Chief Dylan Howard wrote Jeff Bezos a letter reading, "I write to request an interview with you about your love affair." The prospect of protracted litigation with the one man in America who can afford to foot the bill for as long as it takes to bankrupt the tabloid, not to mention criminal prosecution in the Southern District of New York, did not endear AMI to Chatham's manager Anthony Melchiorre. The Washington Post reported last night that Melchiorre is forcing Pecker to pull out of his prize publication.

The decision to sell the tabloid resulted in part from pressure applied by Melchiorre, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. He was motivated partly by the financial difficulties of the tabloid business, but also by his distaste for the Enquirer's tactics.

Melchiorre invested in AMI in December of 2018. That was after Pecker, Howard, and AMI had entered into a plea agreement with SDNY over their payoff to Karen McDougal to assist the Trump campaign. After the New Yorker story about AMI using its reporters to pump Rose McGowan for info to feed back to Harvey Weinstein. After the Enquirer was forced to pay a settlement to one of Bill Cosby's victims for publishing an article denigrating her claims of sexual assault. After AMI published that 97-page glossy mash note to Saudi dictator Mohammed bin Salman, and then swore on a stack of stolen emails that it was just good journalism. And after the AP reported that Dylan Howard kept a safe full of damaging stories about celebrities, including Donald Trump, to ensure that those celebrities would appear in other AMI outlets. All that was totally cool with Melchiorre -- but starting shit with rich dudes about their extracurricular sexxxytimes was a bridge too far. At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Bezos's security chief Gavin de Becker published an editorial in the Daily Beast last week claiming to have proof that Saudi Arabia hacked Bezos's phone and used the Enquirer as a cutout to distribute the stolen texts and photos. Bezos is reportedly meeting with prosecutors this week to discuss his claims. The litigation risk to AMI from Bezos is ... not minimal. And if Pecker and Howard made a practice of this kind of arguably extortionate behavior -- as it certainly seems they did -- then their little peckers might wind up in the wringer. It would be a goddamn shame if these guys got sued for more than the contents of that "safe" is actually worth.

Just kidding! These assholes deserve everything they get.

[WaPo / Bloomberg]

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