Lauren Sanchez’s brother has denied allegations that he sold naked photos of his sister’s beau Jeff Bezos to the National Enquirer and says he will cooperate with the investigation into the leak.
‘I’ve never sold a photo to the National Enquirer or any publication,’ Michael Sanchez said during a Fox News interview on Sunday.
‘Let’s cut to the chase: everything that I did was to protect Jeff and Lauren’s love affair. And anyone who thinks money was the motive is an idiot.’
Responding to reports from the Wall Street Journal that he sold Bezos’ ‘secrets’ to the tabloid for $200,000, Michael Sanchez said: ‘The Wall Street Journal got it wrong.’
He said before reports of his sister and Bezos’ affair were made public, the pair and their closest confidants, including himself, had devised a plan to keep the story from coming out.
‘Multiple tabloids were on to the story,’ he said. ‘The plan was if they had credible information we would offer them the exclusive in terms of the Super Bowl commercial and the documentary to kind of get them off of the track.’
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Lauren Sanchez’s brother Michael (pictured) denied allegations that he sold naked photos of his sister’s beau Jeff Bezos to the National Enquirer and said he will cooperate with the investigation into the leak during an interview on Fox News that aired on Sunday
Michael Sanchez insisted that he did not sell the bombshell photos of sexy texts between Bezos and his sister to the Enquirer, as the tabloid’s parent company American Media Inc has claimed. Bezos and Lauren Sanchez are seen on holiday in St Tropez on Friday
Recounting the first time he met Bezos, Michael Sanchez said: ‘To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to like him because it would have made all of our lives much simpler.
‘But when I met him he was charming, brilliant, loved flying and everyone in our family is pilots so we had a lot to talk about.
‘And most importantly he was, he was deeply in love with Lauren.’
Michael Sanchez said he was determined not to like his sister’s new beau because ‘it would have made all of our lives simpler’ – but that the billionaire won him over the first time they met
Michael, Lauren and their mother Eleanor Sanchez are seen together last summer at the Amazon Spheres, months before Lauren’s affair with Bezos was made public
Lauren Sanchez and her beau have been enjoying a relaxing vacation in Europe
Michael Sanchez also addressed reports that the Southern District of New York has convened a federal grand jury to investigate Bezos’ claims that the Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc engaged in blackmail and hacking.
A veteran security consultant hired by Bezos in the wake of the bombshell leak, Gavin de Becker, claimed that AMI conspired with the Saudi government to hack the billionaire’s text messages.
‘I will cooperate with any of the investigations into the blackmail allegations against AMI and the hacking allegations against the Saudis,’ Michael Sanchez said.
‘One point that I want to make is that all of the investigations thus far have cleared me of any involvement in the below the belt selfies, which are the centerpiece of all of the investigations.’
Michael Sanchez also addressed reports that the Southern District of New York has convened a federal grand jury to investigate Bezos’ claims that the Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc engaged in blackmail and hacking, saying he intends to cooperate fully
When de Becker first went public with the hacking allegations this spring, AMI insisted there was no third party involvement in its affair coverage, claiming that Michael Sanchez was the only source of the photos.
‘Despite the false and unsubstantiated claims of Mr de Becker, American Media has, and continues to, refute the unsubstantiated claims that the materials for our report were acquired with the help of anyone other than the single source who first brought them to us,’ AMI said in a statement posted to Twitter.
‘The fact of the matter is, it was Michael Sanchez who tipped the National Enquirer off to the affair on September 10, 2018, and over the course of four months provided all the materials for our investigation.’
American Media said it had waived Michael’s confidentiality due to his ‘continued efforts to discuss and falsely represent our reporting and his role in it’.
In February, Bezos accused the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing ‘intimate photos’ he allegedly sent to Sanchez unless he publicly stated that the tabloid’s reporting on him was not politically motivated.
Weeks later de Becker claimed AMI privately demanded he deny finding any evidence of ‘electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their newsgathering process’.
‘Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information,’ de Becker wrote in The Daily Beast.
‘As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details.’
Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs said the government had ‘absolutely nothing to do’ with the National Enquirer’s reporting on the affair.
De Becker said he turned his findings over to federal officials, who began reviewing the emails AMI sent to Bezos in an effort to determine whether the company violated its immunity deal by attempting to blackmail Bezos.
The deal protected AMI from prosecution for its participation in a campaign finance violation by Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in exchange for cooperation in the ongoing investigation into that crime.
In the agreement, AMI admitted to paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to stop her from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump, out of concern her story would negatively affect the real estate magnate’s chances of winning the White House.
Earlier this year a security adviser hired by Bezos in the wake of the leak claimed the AMI hired the Saudi government to hack the billionaire’s text messages. Bezos is pictured with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2018
In a Medium post, Bezos alluded to Saudi Arabia’s displeasure at the Bezos-owned Washington Post’s coverage of the murder of its columnist and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bezos also referenced media reports about alleged links between AMI and Saudi Arabia, writing that its CEO, David Pecker, had ‘been investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi Government’.
The killing of Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate last October strained the country’s ties with Western allies, exposed the kingdom to possible sanctions, and tarnished the image of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.