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.
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."