Chief Executive Officer of Amazon Jeff Bezos (left) and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez pose for a picture during their visit at the Taj Mahal in Agra on January 21, 2020. (AFP/Pawan Sharma)
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos hit back at the estranged brother of his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, asking a California judge to throw out a defamation suit filed against him last week by Michael Sanchez.
Bezos’ response, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, called Sanchez’s claims baseless and said the suit amounted to an attempt to chill Bezos’ ability to exercise his right of free speech. He cited a California law allowing for the swift dismissal of suits that inpinge such rights and lack a strong legal basis.
Sanchez claimed in his suit that Bezos and his security consultant Gavin de Becker falsely and publicly accused him of providing nude photographs of Bezos to the National Enquirer, which published an expose of Bezos’ affair with Sanchez’s sister in January 2019. In his response, Bezos said Sanchez failed to point to a single example of him or de Becker making such an accusation.
In a post on the site Medium a few weeks after the Enquirer story, Bezos wrote that the Enquirer had warned him that it would publish embarrassing personal photos of him unless he stopped suggesting the tabloid and its owner, American Media Inc., had pursued a story about his relationship for political motives.
At the time, the publisher had recently entered into a non-prosecution agreement over claims that Enquirer editors had sought to assist Donald Trump, a friend of American Media CEO David Pecker, during the 2016 election by suppressing potentially harmful stories about the candidate’s earlier affairs. As president, Trump has made clear his dislike for Bezos, who owns the Washington Post.
The story has since expanded into an international controversy, boosted by allegations that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince participated in a hack of his phone.
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