Jeff Bezos is taking his battle with the National Enquirer to the court of public opinion. The world's richest man is accusing President Trump's friends at the National Enquirer of blackmail and extortion after the tabloid informed him "we've got your nudes."
Bezos has launched an investigation into the Enquirer's source of 10 photos that shows the Amazon founder and CEO in various stages of undress.
In an unusual blog post on Medium.com, Bezos claims the Enquirer's owner, AMI, threatened to publish his nudes if he didn't call off his investigation into how they acquired his nudes.
But the Enquirer's lawyers say the paper got the nudes "lawfully" and Bezos was not extorted because no demand for money was ever made.
Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post newspaper, never accused the tabloid of demanding money. He claimed the Enquirer wanted him to make a public statement that the Enquirer's coverage of him was not politically motivated.
This is where President Trump comes in.
Bezos is accusing AMI head David Pecker - Trump's close friend - of "weaponizing" his tabloid to ruin him for allowing the Washington Post to write all those negative stories about Trump.
In his lengthy blog post, Bezos did not provide proof that President Trump had anything to do with his nudes being dangled over Bezos's head like carrots.
In fact, the blame falls on Bezos himself for not using discretion or tact when he text his nudes to his mistress, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.
In his blog post titled, "No thank you, Mr. Pecker", Bezos included three emails sent to him by AMI detailing some of the photos that show him with Sanchez on a yacht.
"A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand - while wearing his wedding ring. He's wearing either tight black cargo pants or shorts - and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said garment."
"A naked selfie in a bathroom - while wearing his wedding ring. Mr. Bezos is wearing nothing but a white towel - and the top of his pubic region can be seen."
"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," Bezos wrote of AMI's tactics. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out."
Bezos added: "They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn't stop our investigation."
As part of his investigation into the leaker, Bezos had to wonder if his girlfriend's bother, Michael Sanchez, leaked the nudes to the Enquirer. Michael, who is an outspoken Trump supporter, denies he leaked anything.
AMI's relationship with Trump was the focus of Robert Mueller's probe into allegations of Russian collusion.
AMI admitted to its standard "catch-and-kill" practice - killing stories that might be politically harmful to Trump. The tabloid allegedly paid women who claimed to have affairs with Trump, and then killed their stories.
As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, the government agreed not to press charges against AMI as long as some top executives, including Pecker, cooperated with the investigation.
That was before the Bezos cheating scandal erupted in the headlines.
Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, tells Fox59 News, the allegations could potentially put federal prosecutors in an awkward position because of the deal they had already cut with AMI.
"It shows how complicated and dangerous it is to make an agreement with National Enquirer," Levenson said. "They may have to cooperate, but they’re continuing in their ongoing battle with Bezos and others."