Jeff Bezos accused his girlfriend's brother of 'extortion' in an escalating legal battle over nude photos leaked to the National Enquirer

  • Jeff Bezos in a court filing on Monday accused Michael Sanchez, the brother of his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, of extortion. 
  • According to the Daily Beast, which reviewed the filing made in California, Bezos and his legal team claim that Sanchez is "leveraging the current media environment to harass" Bezos and his own sister for financial gain. 
  • The motion follows a defamation lawsuit from Sanchez on Friday in which he claimed that Bezos falsely told journalists that Sanchez provided Bezos' nude photos to the National Enquirer.

Jeff Bezos in a court filing on Monday accused Michael Sanchez, the brother of his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, of extorting him via a defamation suit dealing with leaked nude photos of Bezos sent to the National Inquirer.

It is an escalation of a legal battle which centers on who sent the pictures to the outlet. Sanchez says that Bezos defamed him by blaming the leak on him. Bezos says that accusation is itself an attempted extortion. 

According to the Daily Beast, which reviewed the filing made in California, Bezos and his legal team say that Sanchez is abusing the legal system to lure the tech billionaire into an expensive dispute. 

"Extortion rears its head again in this lawsuit, this time not only aimed at Defendants but also directly threatening speech protected under the First Amendment," William Isaacson, Bezos' attorney, wrote in the filing, according to the Beast.

The motion follows a defamation lawsuit brought by Sanchez on Friday in which he made accusations of Bezos and a security consultant hired to investigate Bezos' phone after it was allegedly hacked.

11 PHOTOS
Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez
See Gallery
Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez
TOPSHOT - Chief Executive Officer of Amazon Jeff Bezos (L) and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez pose for a picture during their visit at the Taj Mahal in Agra on January 21, 2020. (Photo by Pawan Sharma / AFP) / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo by PAWAN SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 16: Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos attend the Amazon Prime Video celebration on January 16, 2020 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Prodip Guha/Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - OCTOBER 16: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, right along with American news anchor Lauren Sanchez poses for photographs during a blue carpet event organized by Amazon Prime Video in Mumbai, India on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Imtiyaz Shaikh /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos (R) and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez (L) pose for pictures as they arrive to attend an event in Mumbai on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Jeff Bezos and his partner, Lauren Sanchez, look on from the Royal Box on Centre Court on Day 13 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)
CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos (R) and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez (L) pose for pictures as they arrive to attend an event in Mumbai on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Jeff Bezos and his partner, Lauren Sanchez, look on from the Royal Box on Centre Court on Day 13 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)
February 12, 2019 - The Jeff Bezos / National Enquirer American Media Publishing scandal involving alleged blackmail, extortion, racy texts and compromising photographs continues to escalate. - File Photo by: zz/Doug Peters/STAR MAX/IPx 2010 3/7/10 Lauren Sanchez at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. (West Hollywood, CA)
February 12, 2019 - The Jeff Bezos / National Enquirer American Media Publishing scandal involving alleged blackmail, extortion, racy texts and compromising photographs continues to escalate. - File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 12/14/17 Jeff Bezos at the premiere of "The Post" in Washington, DC.
February 12, 2019 - The Jeff Bezos / National Enquirer American Media Publishing scandal involving alleged blackmail, extortion, racy texts and compromising photographs continues to escalate. - File Photo by: zz/Galaxy/STAR MAX/IPx 2010 1/17/10 Lauren Sanchez at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Beverly Hills, CA)
February 12, 2019 - The Jeff Bezos / National Enquirer American Media Publishing scandal involving alleged blackmail, extortion, racy texts and compromising photographs continues to escalate. - File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 12/14/17 Jeff Bezos at the premiere of "The Post" in Washington, DC.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

That filing said Bezos falsely told journalists that Sanchez provided nude photos of Bezos to the National Enquirer. Sanchez maintains that he was not the source of the photos.

Bezos' team began investigating his phone in January 2019 after the Enquirer published a story about him having an affair. He and his then-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced their divorce not long after.

After the Enquirer story was published, Bezos accused the tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc., of blackmailing him by threatening to publish his nude images.

In his filing, Isaacson, the Bezos lawyer, wrote that: "By filing this lawsuit, Mr. Sanchez hopes to put himself back on the front pages and extract money from Defendants by leveraging the current media environment to harass them."

Read Full Story