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Owner of National Enquirer​ exploring sale of tabloid

National Enquirer owner American Media Inc. (AMI) said Wednesday that it will likely sell the tabloid in the near future. The news comes as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is expected to meet with federal prosecutors in New York regarding his allegations that the National Enquirer attempted to extort him in a plan he alleged was backed by Saudi Arabia, CBS News' Pat Milton reports.

AMI also admitted last year to paying hush money to a woman who said she had an affair with President Trump.

AMI president and CEO David Pecker said in a statement Wednesday that the company is focused on expanding its celebrity brands. "Because of this focus, we feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership," Pecker said. In the past two years, AMI has purchased other titles including Us Weekly and Men's Journal.

News of AMI's potential sale of the National Enquirer was first reported by The Washington Post.

Pecker, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump's, has been accused of holding negative stories about Mr. Trump before the election. In December 2018, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York said AMI admitted to "working in concert" with the Trump campaign to keep Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, quiet about the alleged affair with Mr. Trump.

Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer of blackmail

Earlier this year, Bezos, one of the wealthiest people in the world, published a piece on Medium with the title, "No thank you, Mr. Pecker," alleging that AMI blackmailed him by threatening to publish intimate photographs unless he publicly backed off criticisms of the media company. AMI has denied any wrongdoing.

Bezos' security chief alleged earlier this week in a piece in The Daily Beast that Saudi Arabia was behind the hacking of his phone. Gavin de Becker said an investigation — which included interviews with spyware experts and people with close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — found "… with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information." AMI has denied the report.

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