The Nationwide Enquirer and its guardian, American Media, are being accused of defamation by Michael Sanchez, the brother of Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, in a lawsuit filed Friday.

Within the swimsuit, Mr. Sanchez insists that he had not tipped off the Enquirer about Bezos’ affair together with his sister — and that he didn’t provide nude or revealing photographs of Bezos and Ms. Sanchez to the publication.

In a press release to Selection, American Media stated, “The submitting by Mr. Sanchez is his newest try to ignore the reality and rewrite historical past. The actual fact, as now we have maintained all through, is that Mr. Sanchez bought the Nationwide Enquirer the story about his sister’s secret affair and was the only real supply for its reporting. His frivolous lawsuit underscores what his true motivation is, his personal greed.”

Mr. Sanchez’s lawsuit doesn’t cite the extensively reported 2018 contract he entered into with AMI that paid him $200,000 in return for giving the corporate rights to publish and license textual content messages and photographs documenting the connection between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez.

It’s the newest flip within the weird and byzantine case, which emerged final 12 months after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos charged that the Nationwide Enquirer had engaged in a scheme to blackmail and extort him by way of threats of publishing nude photographs and specific texts exchanged between him and Lauren Sanchez. Bezos, the world’s richest particular person, claimed the Saudi regime was irate over protection by the Washington Publish (which Bezos owns) of the homicide of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He asserted that American Media, which has ties to the Saudis, threatened to launch the non-public pics and texts until Bezos ended his investigation into how the Enquirer obtained them. AMI additionally demanded that the Washington Publish cease reporting on AMI’s alleged political agenda in pursuing the Bezos story.

American Media has beforehand stated that Mr. Sanchez was the “single supply” for the Nationwide Enquirer’s protection of Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez and that Mr. Sanchez “offered the entire supplies for our investigation… There was no involvement by some other third occasion by any means.”

In his lawsuit, Mr Sanchez alleges that AMI’s assertion was “false and defamatory,” and that amongst different issues it has “devastated Mr. Sanchez’s skilled profession and status, destroyed the invaluable media relationships which are the ‘instruments’ of his commerce, and left him estranged from his circle of relatives.”

In a press release to Selection, a lawyer for Mr. Sanchez, Jonathan Jenkins of Jenkins Kayayan LLP, stated, “Michael’s lawsuit speaks for itself. We sit up for our day in courtroom.”

Michael Sanchez claimed he didn’t provide the Nationwide Enquirer with “the Pornographic Supplies (a few of which purportedly depicted his personal sister) or lots of the different supplies included in TNE tales concerning the affair.” He claimed an FBI forensic search and audit of his laptop and digital gadgets confirmed that he had by no means been in possession of the compromising photos.

As a substitute, Sanchez’s lawsuit suggests, Saudi Arabia “was doubtless” one of many Enquirer’s different sources for the Bezos-Lauren Sanchez materials and that the Saudis had hacked Bezos’ cellphone and gained entry to his non-public data.

In January, U.N. forensic specialists, after reviewing an evaluation commissioned by Bezos, stated the proof steered that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind a hack of Bezos’ iPhone “in an effort to affect, if not silence, The Washington Publish’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.” Bezos had obtained a video by way of Fb’s WhatsApp from the Saudi chief’s private cell phone in 2018, which allowed Bezos’ cellphone to be tracked, in keeping with the evaluation. The Saudi authorities has denied involvement within the alleged hack.

Sanchez admits within the lawsuit that he offered data to the Nationwide Enquirer. Nonetheless, he claims, this was as a result of he was attempting to delay publication of the story and, failing that, he tried to “decrease the fallout for his sister by making a deal to cooperate strategically with Defendants in return for management over the story narrative (i.e. ‘love story’ versus ‘sordid extramarital dishonest’) and timing.”

Upfront of the Enquirer’s report about Bezos’s affair with Lauren Sanchez (the ex-wife of Endeavor govt chairman Patrick Whitesell), Bezos introduced that he and his spouse, MacKenzie, had been getting divorced.

Sanchez’s lawsuit towards the Nationwide Enquirer and AMI seeks unspecified financial damages. The swimsuit was filed March 27 within the U.S. District Court docket for the Central District of California. The swimsuit names as defendants AMI, the Nationwide Enquirer, AMI CEO David Pecker and AMI chief content material officer Dylan Howard.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Sanchez cites an electronic mail he allegedly obtained from Howard that stated, “The untold story – if you’ll – has not been informed as to how we uncovered the [Bezos-Lauren Sanchez] story. I’m saving it for my tombstone.”

The swimsuit identifies Michael Sanchez because the proprietor and CEO of Axis Administration, a “Hollywood-based expertise administration and movie and tv manufacturing agency. His work typically contains arranging, optimizing, and sometimes suppressing media protection of his high-profile shoppers.”

In the meantime, in January of this 12 months, Michael Sanchez filed a lawsuit alleging that Bezos and his safety chief, Gavin de Becker, falsely unfold data that Mr. Sanchez had provided the nude images to the Nationwide Enquirer. Legal professionals for Bezos and de Becker responded in a courtroom submitting that Mr. Sanchez’s claims had been unsubstantiated and that his lawsuit amounted to “extortion.”