After disappearing from the front page of tabloids for nearly a year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ extramarital affair scandal has come back to haunt him. This time, the trouble hasn’t been started by paparazzi or alleged Middle Eastern enemies, but the brother of his inseparable girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, Michael Sanchez.
On Friday, Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager, sued the world’s richest man and his personal security chief, Gavin de Becker, for defaming him during the media fiasco around the Amazon CEO’s affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV news anchor, while still married to MacKenzie Bezos in early 2019.
In January 2019, shortly after Bezos announced that he would divorce MacKenzie, his wife of 25 years, The National Enquirer published a series of racy texts the 56-year-old billionaire had sent to Lauren Sanchez, 50, months before filing the divorce. The tabloid later threatened to publish intimate photos of the Amazon CEO, including a “below the belt selfie,” unless he publicly said the newspaper’s coverage of him was not politically motivated. (The National Enquirer is owned by American Media Inc., a pro-Trump media company often critical of the way The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, has covered the Trump administration.)
Bezos didn’t cave in to the blackmail and instead ordered a private investigation into who leaked those private messages and pictures in the first place. A probe led by de Becker quickly closed in on Michael Sanchez as a top suspect, The Daily Beast revealed in a January 31, 2019 article.
Michael Sanchez denied such allegations immediately, calling them “fake, unhinged conservative conspiracy theories” in an angry tweet the same day.
Friday’s defamation suit, filed in a state court in Los Angeles, accused Bezos and de Becker of falsely telling journalists that Michael Sanchez had leaked “graphic, nude photographs” of Bezos and spreading “the false narrative” that Michael Sanchez had betrayed his sister by peddling the story to The National Enquirer.
A lawyer representing Bezos said the Amazon CEO “has chosen to address this lawsuit in court.”
In a statement to The New York Times through her lawyer, Lauren Sanchez said, “Michael is my older brother. He secretly provided my most personal information to The National Enquirer—a deep and unforgivable betrayal. My family is hurting over this new baseless and untrue lawsuit, and we truly hope my brother finds peace.”