Citing free-speech grounds, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed a defamation suit filed by the brother of Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend against the Amazon founder and his security consultant over nude photos of the billionaire leaked to the media.

Judge John P. Doyle adopted a tentative ruling he issued Wednesday by granting an anti-SLAPP motion filed by Bezos and consultant Gavin de Becker.

Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager and the brother of former Los Angeles TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, alleged in his lawsuit filed Jan. 31 that Bezos and Becker falsely told journalists that the plaintiff had provided the embarrassing photos of the 56-year-old billionaire to the National Enquirer, which had been investigating Bezos and Sanchez for months.

According to the lawsuit, the two started an extramarital affair in 2017, while both were still married. Bezos and Lauren Sanchez were publicly outed as a couple in January 2019, on the same day he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announced their divorce.

A SLAPP suit is a complaint intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

In his written ruling, the judge said there is evidence the statements cited as defamatory by Michael Sanchez “relate to an issue of public interest as there was widespread media coverage relating to Jeffrey Bezos’ extramarital affair and the source which leaked the affair to the media.”

But Doyle also said there is no admissible evidence that Bezos and de Becker published the subject statements and that a sworn declaration submitted by Sanchez in opposition to the dismissal motion “merely discusses what he was told by reporters, which is inadmissible hearsay.”

In sum, Doyle wrote, Sanchez “has not shown admissible evidence of publication by the defendants, which is an element of a prima facie case of defamation.”

The judge told the attorneys during the hearing that the anti-SLAPP statute allows for an examination of specific cases to ensure they do not proceed if they are flawed for one reason or another.

“I’m satisfied we’re where we should be in this particular case,” Doyle said.

Sanchez’s lawyer, Thomas Warren, argued current law permitted his client’s case to go forward, but defense attorney William Isaacson told the judge he reached the correct legal conclusions. Doyle told Isaacson to prepare judgment in favor of his clients and set a hearing on that issue for Nov. 24.

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