|Cans of Worms||
8 January 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Jeff Bezos launched Amazon and, as a result, is the richest man in the world. He used part of his fortune to buy the Washington Post, a news operation hated by Donald Trump because it keeps telling the truth about him and his failing administration. American Media Inc. owns the National Enquirer and has used the paper to protect President Trump from unflattering stories. The two media enterprises have just clashed over what appears to be attempted blackmail of Mr. Bezos by AMI and its minions. This could bankrupt AMI and damage the standing of the White House.
While the story leads all over and gets confusing, the basic facts are simple. Mr. Bezos had an extra-marital affair that ended his marriage, and the National Enquirer published some incriminating pictures. Mr. Bezos hired a security consultant to find out how the National Enquirer got the pictures. AMI discovered that it was the target of this private investigation and had its lawyer send an email to Mr. Bezos' lawyer that demanded Mr. Bezos publicly acknowledge that the Enqnirer's actions were void of political motivation. Failure to do so would result in the publication of further embarrassing photos and texts. Mr. Bezos published the letter and an explanation on the internet rather than comply.
AMI issued a statement this morning that looks like a confession. It said, “American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos. Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary.” A scapegoat is sought.
This may not rise to the legal definition of extortion because the law requires the blackmailer to demand something of value. Is the statement demanded "something of value?" Some might argue that mere words are not valuable, but AMI seems to believe it was worth threatening the wealthiest man in the world to get those words. That would make them valuable.
Be that as it may, there is one other twist to this story. AMI has a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice related to the Stormy Daniels pay-off. Under the terms of the agreement, AMI promised not to engage in criminal activity. In the Washington Post, the story about its owner quoted Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, "This could constitute criminal conduct in the eyes of a prosecutor, if these allegations are true. For prosecutors, your worst nightmare is watching a cooperation deal unravel. Alleged conduct like this puts them in the position to rethink that deal and potentially turn around and have to prosecute AMI, and that undermines their ability to continue to use them to assist other ongoing investigations."
Even if AMI did not break the law, the prosecutors will have to investigate the matter, and AMI will not be able to claim any Fifth Amendment rights because of the non-prosecution agreement. AMI waived all rights in exchange for not facing a jury. That is over.
The story as it stands now is rife with speculation, including possible Saudi Arabian investment in AMI and the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a former journalist with the Washington Post. One thing is certain; AMI doesn't have the resources nor the legal standing to take on Jeff Bezos. He has decided to accept person embarrassment as the price of fighting back.
As one analyst stated earlier today, "AMI is out of business. It just doesn't know it yet."
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.