The brother of Jeff Bezos’s girlfriend has filed a lawsuit accusing Bezos and his security consultant of defaming him in connection with a 2019 National Enquirer story revealing Bezos’s extramarital affair, it was reported Monday.
Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager and the brother of Lauren Sanchez, said in a lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles that Bezos and Gavin de Becker, the consultant, had falsely told journalists that he had leaked “graphic, nude photographs” of Bezos to The Enquirer, The New York Times reported.
Among its other claims, Sanchez’s suit says Lauren Sanchez and Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, kept their affair secret on the advice of a psychic. Michael Sanchez also said his home was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Enquirer story, published online on Jan. 9, 2019, contained reproductions of text messages from Bezos to Lauren Sanchez. The tabloid later claimed to have photos of Bezos in various states of undress, but did not publish them.
The lawsuit blames Bezos and de Becker for spreading what it calls “the false narrative” that Sanchez had betrayed his sister by peddling the story to The Enquirer, according to the Times.
A lawyer for Bezos, William Isaacson, said his client “has chosen to address this lawsuit in court and we will do that soon.” De Becker declined to comment.
In a statement provided by her lawyer, Terry Bird, Lauren Sanchez said, “Michael is my older brother. He secretly provided my most personal information to The National Enquirer — a deep and unforgivable betrayal. My family is hurting over this new baseless and untrue lawsuit, and we truly hope my brother finds peace.”
A lawyer for Michael Sanchez, Enoch Liang, said in a statement that the lawsuit “speaks for itself.”
Sanchez’s assertions contain apparent inconsistencies. Bezos and de Becker, who investigated how The Enquirer got its expose, have not publicly accused Sanchez of leaking photographs to the tabloid.
Instead, Bezos hinted in a blog post last February that materials relevant to the story made their way to The Enquirer through a hacking of his phone by Saudi Arabia, which has denied any role in the expose.
American Media said in a statement last month that Michael Sanchez was the “single source” for the expose.
According to an October 2018 contract reviewed by The New York Times, Sanchez granted American Media the right to publish and license text messages and photographs “documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez” in exchange for $200,000. In his lawsuit, Sanchez did not address whether he had provided text messages or photographs, or whether he was compensated by the tabloid.
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