Bezos accused the tabloid owned by American Media of attempting to blackmail him over the affair by threatening to release sexual photos and exchanges with Sanchez. Bezos went public, publishing on Medium the details of the alleged blackmail.
“I was made an offer I couldn't refuse," Bezos wrote at the time. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten."
Prosecutors have been investigating whether American Media Inc. had attempted to extort Bezos, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials have also been looking into whether Bezos’ phone had been hacked. According to the reports, the photos and texts came from Michael Sanchez. American Media Inc. told the Journal in a statement that Michael Sanchez had provided all the material and information to its reporters in September 2018. The statement says that the contract gave the company exclusive rights to “certain information, photographs, and text messages documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez” that he claimed to have obtained lawfully.
Sanchez told the Journal that it “keeps getting it wrong,” declining to comment on the texts or contract, according to the report. Gavin De Becker, who Bezos hired to investigate the leak and possible phone hack, has previously alleged that there is a relationship between the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and AMI CEO David Pecker. Saudi Arabia denied hacking into Bezos’ smartphone, while the FBI said on Thursday that it has not been provided guidance and cannot comment as to whether the agency will undertake an investigation into allegations that the Bezos’ telephone was hacked by Saudi Arabia.