Jon Fine, the deputy general counsel of National Enquirer's parent company who was accused of threatening to publish revealing photographs of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unless he publicly pushed back against criticisms of the tabloid, reportedly worked at Amazon for nine years before taking on his current job at America Media, Inc.
Fine, whose email address was tied to a series of emails that emerged at the center of the publisher’s feud with Bezos on Thursday, was found to have worked under the billionaire executive as a lawyer, director and then vice president at Amazon between 2006 and 2015, DailyMail.com first reported and his LinkedIn profile also revealed.
After leaving the company in January 2015, Fine reportedly went on to work at several firms before starting his current role as deputy general counsel at AMI in November 2018.
According to emails released by Bezos on his Medium account on Thursday, Fine offered Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post, a deal to keep AMI from publishing allegedly revealing texts and photos from Bezos if the executive publicly refuted a report from the Post that suggested the publisher's “coverage was politically motivated.”
The email stemmed from a story published by the National Enquirer in January detailing Bezos’ alleged affair with entertainment personality Lauren Sanchez, which also featured pictures and texts between the two.
Bezos initiated an investigation shortly after the story was published "to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by the Enquirer.”
Bezos’ said in his Medium post that Pecker was "apoplectic" over the probe and his team later approached him with an offer to make a public statement claiming the coverage was not politically motivated or the company would release more unseemly photos of him.
Fine allegedly defended the coverage of his affair and the publication of "private” photos of the billionaire in an email dated earlier this week.
On the same day, the Post also published a story regarding the leaks with the headline: "Was tabloid exposé of Bezos affair just juicy gossip or a political hit job?"
"Absent the immediate cessation of the defamatory conduct, we will have no choice but to pursue all remedies available under applicable law," Fine wrote in a Feb 5. letter.
"That said, if your client agrees to cease and desist such defamatory behavior, we are willing to engage in constructive conversations regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession,” he continued.
Fine later asked Bezos in another email to refute the Post’s reporting publicly and say "that they have no knowledge of basis for suggesting that American Media Inc.'s coverage was politically motivated of influencer by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility."
Fine also wrote that AMI would agree “not to publish, distribute, share or describe unpublished texts and photos,” in exchange.
AMI denied wrongdoing in a statement on Friday and said it "believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos."
According to Bloomberg News, federal prosecutors are currently reviewing the Enquirer's conduct after Bezos accused AMI of "extortion and blackmail.”