How did the National Enquirer get their hands on Jeff Bezos' dick pics? Federal prosecutors have an idea.
According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators have come across evidence that Bezos' girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, sent the explicit photos to her brother, who then sold them to the tabloid for six figures. The feds pointed to text messages sent from Sanchez's phone to Michael Sanchez's phone on May 10, 2018 and July 3, 2018. Those texts reportedly contained a shirtless photo from Bezos as well as a "flirtatious message," which was quoted in the Enquirer's 2019 story about Bezos' affair.
At this time, it's unclear if Lauren was aware her brother intended on selling the photos and messages to the publication. There's also questions on how the Enquirer obtained the other material that was at the center of its alleged blackmail scheme.
In February 2019, the Amazon CEO published a blog post claiming the tabloid was threatening to release intimate pictures of him and his then-mistress Lauren. Bezos shared a Feb. 5, 2019, email allegedly sent from Dylan Howard, the editorial director of the Enquirer's publisher American Media Inc. That email listed some of the photos the outlet had obtained, including a "dick pick," a picture of Lauren "smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated oral sex scene," and a naked selfie Bezos had taken in the bathroom.
"I was made an offer I couldn't refuse," Bezos wrote. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten."
More than a month after Bezos' post, the WSJ reported Michael had sold the explicit photos and texts to the Enquirer for $200,000. The latest report states he had received the payment under an October 2018 contract, which gave the outlet exclusive rights to "certain information, photographs, and text messages documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez."
In a statement sent to WSJ, AMI confirmed Michael Sanchez had provided all the photos and texts to its writers in September 2018. The outlet also insisted Saudi Arabia was not involved, raising doubts that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assisted the leaks.
A newly released forensic report had determined that it was likely that Bezos' iPhone had been hacked after he received a malicious video file via WhatsApp. The video was reportedly sent from a phone number used by the Saudi ruler; however, the Kingdom denied any involvement and called the report "absurd."