National Enquirer publisher believes it 'acted lawfully' with Bezos

The company that owns the National Enquirer said Friday that it believes the tabloid "acted lawfully" in its dealings with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos but has vowed to investigate the matter in light of Bezos's accusations of attempted extortion.

In a statement the morning after Bezos published a blog post on Medium detailing an email he received from the Enquirer about its possession of intimate photos of him, American Media Inc. (AMI) said that it "believes fervently" that the company "acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos," the statement, obtained by The Wrap's Jon Levine reads.

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"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 accusations published by Mr. Bezos, the board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims."

Bezos accused AMI and the Enquirer of attempting to extort him by threatening to publish revealing text messages and photos of Bezos, including what an email exchange referred to as a "d*ck pic."

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what [AMI] sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote Thursday.

"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," he added. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out."

AMI and the Enquirer are owned by David Pecker, a longtime associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE. Trump has clashed publicly with Bezos over his ownership of both Amazon and The Washington Post.

In recent weeks, the Enquirer published text messages between Bezos and the woman with whom he was having an affair, prompting the Amazon CEO to hire investigators to look into how the tabloid obtained the texts.

Bezos in the Medium post accused AMI of threatening him after Pecker discovered he had initiated an investigation into the Enquirer. He wrote that they were threatening to publish the photos unless he ended the investigation and made a public statement claiming he had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces."

Bezos also suggested that Pecker was upset by The Washington Post's coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

AMI last year agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors after admitting that it paid $150,000 to a woman "in concert with" Trump's campaign "in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election."

The agreement stated that AMI “shall commit no crimes whatsoever” for three years or it would be "subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation of which this office has knowledge," according to The New York Times.