Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said on “Morning with Maria” Monday that the National Enquirer’s parent company could have committed blackmail but not extortion if Jeff Bezos’s allegations are true.
“If the events are as Jeff Bezos characterized them which is consistent with the letter, it was clearly a form of blackmail which is a federal crime carrying five years in federal prison, ” Napolitano said.
“Blackmail is a threat to do something if another person doesn’t stop doing what they’re doing,” Napolitano said. “It doesn’t involve coercion, extortion involves coercion. I don’t think it’s extortion. But it’s clearly a form of blackmail.”
Bezos accused AMI, National Enquirer’s owner, of blackmail in a Medium post Thursday. AMI allegedly attempted to publish lewd photos between him and his mistress Lauren Sanchez, who was a former “So You Think You Can Dance?” host. Bezos, who founded Amazon and owns the Washington Post, believed there were political motivations as AMI leader David Pecker and President Donald Trump are friends.
“If it’s news worthy why are you threatening it in order to catch Jeff Bezos to say something he doesn’t believe is true,”Napolitano said. “Jeff has been saying there is a political motivation behind this. Doesn’t mention the president’s name, there’s an implication that David Pecker and the president are good friends. So then the AMI people, Pecker say you have to withdraw that statement. If you don’t withdraw that statement we have more embarrassing pictures of you that we’re going to publish. That’s classic blackmail.”
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The president and Bezos have clashed, with Trump suggesting Amazon getting taxed at higher levels.
Bezos announced his divorce with wife Mackenzie Bezos Jan. 9 on Twitter.