Jeff Bezos Says He’s Being Extorted in Response to Defamation Suit

Nat Levy, GeekWire
Nat Levy is a staff reporter at GeekWire covering a variety of technology topics, including Microsoft, Amazon, tech startups, and the intersection of technology with real estate, courts and government. Follow him on Twitter at @natjlevy​​ and read his stories at GeekWire.
Jeff Bezos Says He’s Being Extorted in Response to Defamation Suit
Wikimedia Commons

Jeff Bezos' legal team said a defamation suit brought by his girlfriend's brother represents an attempt to extort the Amazon CEO.

Michael Sanchez accused Bezos and his security chief Gavin de Becker in the lawsuit filed earlier this week of spreading false rumors that he leaked nude photos of the tech leader to the National Enquirer. Sanchez said in the suit he "never had possession of the graphic photographs in question."


Three days after the original suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bezos' team submitted a motion to strike the suit, arguing neither the Amazon CEO nor de Becker ever accused Sanchez of leaking nude photos. Sanchez, the motion argues, is making himself the center of the story and using that to try and get money from the world's richest person.

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. 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. But no matter what Michael Sanchez says or how many times he repeats himself, at the heart of his Complaint lies the same public controversy he helped generate and has tried to exploit—and from which he surreptitiously earned $200,000.

A year ago, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their decision to divorce after 25 years of marriage. In the days after that announcement, the Enquirer published an exclusive cover story with images detailing what it called "the cheating photos that ended his marriage."

A month after that, Bezos accused National Enquirer parent company American Media of blackmail by threatening to publish intimate photos of him and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez unless he called off an investigation he launched into how the tabloid gained access to his private text messages. AMI later said Michael Sanchez was the sole source for the National Enquirer story.

Based on news reports and AMI's admissions, statements that Michael Sanchez was the source for the National Enquirer story are "substantially true" and don't meet the threshed for defamation, according to Bezos' motion. Sanchez, the motion argues, is suing Bezos because he's "unhappy" about media coverage of his alleged actions.

"This reporting has exposed the appalling truth that Michael Sanchez betrayed his sister by selling her out to the Enquirer by providing it with personal information and text messages after he was paid $200,000," according to Bezos' filing.

Read the original defamation lawsuit as well as Bezos' response on GeekWire, where this story originally appeared.

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LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder
Photo: provided by LAV

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Bold Capital Partner Emilio Diez Barroso talks about his entrepreneurial journey, what led him to become an investor and shares the qualities he looks for when investing in companies.

Bold Capital is a Series A fund that primarily focuses its investments in deep tech and biotech companies. But, like other funds, they make excuses to invest in other companies every now and then.

“We're always interested in things that have the potential to truly transform how things are done and uplift humanity,” he said.

In his experience with investing in early stage startups, Diez Barroso said “humility and vulnerability are assets and qualities in the journey, and you don’t feel like you have to have it all together with your investors.”

Which is why he looks for people who have “this capacity to take full responsibility for how they show up and they have a vision and they have the willingness to go and execute it.”

In addition to his work at Bold Capital, Diez Barroso also runs two family offices which provide him with a surplus of knowledge in the investment space.

“I wear two very different hats,” he said, “and I invest very differently when I'm investing for myself, when I'm investing for my family, and when I'm investing for LP’s.”

But before becoming an investor, Diez Barroso got his entrepreneurial start when he arrived in Los Angeles. He admits that he failed plenty of times because unlike in Mexico, where Diez Barroso grew up, he didn’t have the same access to the contacts or resources of his family business.

“I would say yes to every opportunity that came my way,” he said, “I had started or partnered with someone and co-founded and most of them I had no idea what I was doing, so most of them really failed and a few got lucky enough to succeed.”

After learning how these startups worked and investing his own capital into several companies, he soon realized he was a much better investor than an operator.

“I think we're not all cut out for the journey,” he said, “and I don't think we should all be cut out for that journey. I think that it takes a very different character to start something from scratch.”

Throughout his own journey, Diez Barroso acknowledged that he struggled with his own identity and need to feel like the smartest person in the room. Once he better understood his own motivations, Diez Barroso was able to see that he was chasing the next reward, the next carrot.

“It's fun to close the deal and it's fun to grow the business,” Diez Barroso said. “But what I hadn't been in contact with is how much of my fuel was derived from trying to outrun the idea of not feeling good enough.”

Of course, he’s not alone. “I see a lot of entrepreneurs, activists all across fields and I can tell the difference when they're running from this fuel that is sort of very quick burning because there is an anxiety that oftentimes makes us narrow minded,” Diez Barroso said. “We are so attached to what we think should happen that we leave very little space for the possibilities.”

dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs
Xos/Loomis
The United States transportation sector is rapidly adopting electric vehicle technologies at every level. From aircrafts, to tractor trailers, to sedans and bicycles, no means of locomotion is off limits…even armored trucks.
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