Who Is David Pecker? New Details About The Man Jeff Bezos Said Was Extorting Him Over Nude Photos

Photo: Jeff Bezos, Twitter
Who Is David Pecker? New Details On Jeff Bezos Letter To AMI CEO Who Blackmailed Him With Nude Photos

Jeff Bezos released a shocking letter addressed to David Pecker claiming the media mogul blackmailed him with nude photos.

The Amazon founder alleges Pecker, president, chairman and CEO of American Media, Inc., threatened to publish intimate photos of him if he did not pull the plug on an investigation into Pecker's company.

In his letter, titled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker" and published on the blog site Medium Thursday, Bezos detailed the alleged threat, which was sent to him via email by AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard. The threat is similar to what many people refer to as revenge porn. 

"Something unusual happened to me yesterday," Bezos began his post. "Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought."

In the so-called un-refusable offer, Bezos claimed that Howard informed him AMI had intimate photos of Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez and was not afraid to publish said pictures if he did not cooperate with certain demands.



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“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,” Bezos wrote.

Bezos included copies of several emails sent to him by AMI reps asking him to release a statement saying he has "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces” and wil not investigate the company further.

“Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption,” Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, continued. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”

Now, we wait. 

So who is the man behind the alleged blackmail of Jeff Bezos? Here is everything you need to know about David Pecker and his alleged attempt to blackmail Jeff Bezos.


1. He is the head of many media publications.

Pecker is the longtime chairman and CEO of AMI, the umbrella company of many publications including the National Enquirer, Star, Sun, Weekly World News, Globe, Men's Fitness, Muscle and FitnessRadar Online, and more. He obtained his position as chairman in 1999 and was previously the chairman and CEO of  Hachette Filipacchi Médias.


2. Bezos previously launched an investigation into his company.

Bezos' allegations against Pecker come a month after he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced they are divorcing. Following their announcement, the National Enquirer published an article revealing Bezos had an affair, accompanied by personal texts between himself and his mistress, Lauren Sanchez.

Bezos hired investigator Gavin de Becker to find out how the tabloid obtained such private details, specifically text messages, and “to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by the Enquirer.”


3. AMI responded to Bezos' claims.

On Friday morning, AMI issued a statement regarding the extortion claims made by Bezos backing up its employees and their work.

AMI "believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos" but the National Enquirer will look into the matter, the statement reads.

"Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him," the company continued. "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."

The statement did not reveal what the investigation will entail or what the board will be doing throughout the matter.


RELATED: Who Is Lauren Sanchez? Details About The Woman In The Middle Of Jeff Bezos' $137 Billion Divorce And AMI Nude Pics Scandal


4. His extortion attempt may have been a selling tactic.

Stu Zakim, a former spokesman for Pecker's tabloid media, told CNBC that Pecker likely tried to blackmail Bezos because he knew it would be top news. Zakim appeared on "Squawk Box" Friday and spilled his thoughts on Pecker's motive.

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"Oh my God, have these guys not learned anything? Because common sense alone would say, 'You're going after Jeff Bezos, and you're putting it in writing?' There's nothing private anymore," Zakim said. "It's going to be a public document. So what is their motive?"

The former corporate communications chief at AMI from 2004-2006 said he believes Pecker's alleged exploitation attempt was fueled by a probable publicity gain.

"I think Pecker did it — not because necessarily to help Trump — but he knew it was going to sell a lot of copies of the Enquirer and gain a lot of publicity because here we are talking about it. It's the top story everywhere," he said.


5. He is friends with Donald Trump.

Pecker and Trump have been friends since the 1990s and remain close to this day. Their longtime friendship was detailed in a 2017 article published by The New Yorker along with claims that it often sways what Pecker decides to publish in the National Enquirer.

“The guy’s a personal friend of mine," Pecker told the outlet.

AMI employees told The New Yorker that their friendship and businesses are tightly connected. Trumpersonallyly supplies Pecker with stories and Pecker would often consult the president on news to be published, they claimed. Their relationship soon became the subject of a national investigation.


6. His media coverage of President Trump was under investigation.

Pecker was under investigation for reportedly using the National Enquirer to "catch and kill" any stories relating to Trump that could negatively impact his campagn, the act of purchasing news and intentionally burying it. An investigation was launched to determine if this constitutes an unlawful contribution to Trump's presidency campaign.

“If AMI was ‘helpful’ to the president during the campaign it was because the audience of the National Enquirer was one of the most supportive of his candidacy,” read an April statement from AMI. “We covered him for a business reason.”


7. He was granted imunity in the Michael Cohen case.

Pecker was granted immunity by prosecutors in the investigation into Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations, inclding two counts of paying off women during Trump's campaign to stay silent about incidents involving Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported in August.

AMI was cited in the investigation and reportedly paid Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Trump over a decade ago, $150,000 for the rights to her story in an effort to keep it quiet


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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.