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David Pecker’s Attorney Denies Bezos Claims: Not Extortion, Not the White House, Not Saudi Arabia

On This Week on Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos interviewed Elkan Abramowitz, attorney for AMI chief David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer. Abramowitz denied allegations and implications from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that the tabloid attempted to extort and blackmail him, and that it was done at the behest or on behalf of Donald Trump.

“It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail,” Abramowitz told Stephanopoulos right from the start.

“What happened was the story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source that had given information to the National Enquirer for seven years prior to this story,” he said. “And it was a source that was well known to both Mr. Bezos and Miss Sanchez.”

He was referring to Lauren Sanchez, Bezos’ girlfriend who is the other party in the photos with which Bezos claims National Enquirer attempted to blackmail and extort him. Stephanopoulos asked about one theory on the source of the texts: Lauren Sanchez’s brother Michael Sanchez.

“I can’t discuss who the source was,” said Abramowitz. “I just–it’s confidential within AMI, so I’m not going to answer who the source was. It was somebody close to both Bezos and Miss Sanchez.”

This was information he repeated many times during the interview, that he could not say who the source was, that they were someone known to both parties, and that the source was not who Bezos and his investigators have theorized.

“It was not the White House, it was not Saudi Arabia,” he said several times. He also said that the story was not “inspired by The Washington Post.”

“It was a usual story that — that National Enquirer gets from reliable sources,” Abramowitz said to Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos pressed on extortion. “But the National Enquirer believes that these photos were newsworthy, yet they’re offering there not to publish them in return for a thing of value from Jeff Bezos,” he said. “Letting go of the legal liabilities, saying it wasn’t politically motivated. How is that not extortion?”

“That is not extortion because all that AMI wanted was the truth,” said the attorney. “Bezos and Ms. Sanchez knew who the source was. Any investigator that was going to investigate this knew who the source was. It was not the White House, it was not Saudi Arabia.”

He added that “it’s a news decision to decide how long you can go with the same story so that each side” and that “it was part of a legitimate negotiation.”

Amazingly, he also outlined the transactional nature as a defense, saying “it’s absolutely not a crime to ask somebody to simply tell the truth. Tell the truth that this was not politically motivated and we will print no more stories.”

Watch the full clip above, courtesy of ABC News.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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