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Lauren Sanchez's brother sold racy Bezos texts to National Enquirer for $200K, report says

Probe zeros in on brother of Bezos girlfriend
  • The National Enquirer's publisher paid $200,000 for the intimate texts, The Wall Street Journal reports
  • The texts were provided by the brother of Jeff Bezos's mistress
  • The payment for Bezos's texts is higher than what the tabloid usually pays sources, report says

The National Enquirer's publisher paid $200,000 to obtain intimate texts between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez, reports The Wall Street Journal. The publisher, American Media, is said to have paid the amount to Michael Sanchez, Lauren's brother.

The Journal's finding, attributed to people familiar with the matter, parallels the conclusion reached by private investigators working for Bezos as of early February. Those investigators reportedly found that Michael Sanchez had leaked the texts to the Enquirer, although they didn't appear to conclude who might have paid for them.

Investigators hired by Bezos have turned their findings over to law enforcement, CBS News reported last month. Bezos and his team believed the report was likely politically motivated, as Michael Sanchez and American Media CEO David Pecker are supporters of President Donald Trump, who has railed against Bezos and The Washington Post, which Bezos owns. 

Jeff Bezos' investigators turn findings over to law enforcement

The $200,000 payment is higher than the typical amount paid by the National Enquirer, the Wall Street Journal reported. Michael Sanchez is said to have first told the tabloid about his sister's relationship with Bezos last fall, although the publication reports the tabloid was already investigating the relationship between Lauren Sanchez and Bezos. 

The deal to buy the texts reportedly caused friction within American Media, the Journal adds. Pecker was reportedly worried about legal costs if Bezos sued the publisher. The company was already under financial strain, the Journal added, noting that an underwriter to refinance $400 million in debt had backed out because of reports it had paid hush money to keep damaging news about Mr. Trump from appearing in print. 

Bezos has said American Media threatened to publish explicit photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the Enquirer obtained his private exchanges and publicly declared that the Enquirer's coverage of him was not politically motivated.