American Media considers sale of 'National Enquirer'

Musk and Bezos

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AMI is the parent company of the National Enquirer.

A person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press the billionaire will meet with prosecutors in the coming days.

American Media came under fire more recently from Bezos for what he said were threats to publish photographs of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained private exchanges between him and his mistress. Bezos' attorneys also had no comment. In recent weeks, Bezos's attorneys and investigators turned over to federal authorities documents and other material from their own inquiry, but not his devices, these people said.

Amid these developments, Bezos has expanded his legal team, adding attorney Matthew Schwartz, a partner at law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP who spent a decade as a federal prosecutor in NY, the people familiar with the matter said.

Late past year, the Seattle company jumped ahead of many rivals by raising its minimum wage for USA workers to $15 an hour.

Prosecutors have been probing the extortion claim in part to determine whether the actions of the National Enquirer's publisher, American Media, violated a non-prosecution agreement it struck a year ago with prosecutors.

Last year, AMI cooperated with federal prosecutors to avoid charges and admitted it made a $150,000 hush-money payment to a former Playboy magazine model to prevent her from going public ahead of the 2016 election with claims that she had an affair with Trump.

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Pecker's connection with President Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen landed AMI in a legal tangle previous year.

De Becker didn't describe what evidence he had backing his assertion that Saudi Arabia got access to Bezos' phone, saying he couldn't disclose specifics of the investigation "to respect officials pursuing this case". "As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details", de Becker wrote in The Daily Beast.

Bezos' security team has looked into the matter and believes the Saudis, because of the Post's coverage of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, tried to extort him through the Enquirer.

A spokesman for the publisher has said "American Media does not have, nor have we ever had, any editorial or financial ties to Saudi Arabia".

The company in October pledged to pay all of its warehouse workers at least $15 an hour, after presidential hopefuls Warren and Bernie Sanders held out Amazon workers on food stamps as an example of the need for living-wage protections.

In his letter, Bezos talked about the growth of third-party sellers on Amazon, as independent sellers have grown from 3 percent to 58 percent of physical growth merchandise sales.

AMI, Pecker and the National Enquirer have been embroiled in controversies surrounding President Trump.

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