EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Sanchez slams brother’s bid to depose her in his lawsuit against National Enquirer as an ‘abusive’ ruse to get details he’ll use to launch a complaint against HER – after he tipped off the tabloid to her affair with Jeff Bezos
- Lauren Sanchez has slammed her brother Michael’s attempt to depose her in his defamation case as a bid to gather details he’ll use for another suit against her
- Michael Sanchez, 56, is suing AMI for naming him as the ‘sole source’ of the tip that led to National Enquirer’s 2019 story about his sister’s affair with Jeff Bezos
- Sanchez has been locked in litigation over the matter for close to three years, during which time he brought a failed suit against Bezos himself
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s girlfriend Lauren Sanchez has accused her own brother of using the ‘cover of litigation’ to psychologically abuse and pressure her ‘in the hope that she would pay him to go away.’
The allegation comes amid court documents, obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com and newly filed by lawyers acting on Lauren’s behalf in a bid quash brother Michael’s attempts to depose her in a defamation lawsuit he is bringing against American Media Inc – the publishers of The National Enquirer – its former Chief Executive David Pecker, editor Dylan Howard and others.
According to Lauren’s attorney, Terry W Bird, the proposed deposition is nothing but a ‘Trojan horse,’ that Sanchez is attempting to use, ‘in order to gather information that he will then try to manipulate into a further harassing and abusive legal complaint against [his sister].’
Neither Lauren, 53, nor Bezos, 59, are parties to Sanchez’s suit, but his case turns on the details of the exposure of their affair four years ago.
Lauren Sanchez is fighting her brother’s bid to depose her in his defamation case against the publisher of the National Enquirer, which broke the story of her affair with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (pictured together in March)
Michael Sanchez – pictured right with his sister and mother Eleanor – has accused AMI of defaming him when they named him as the ‘sole source’ of the tip that led to the bombshell tabloid story in 2019
Following the fallout over The National Enquirer’s story of the affair in January 2019, the tabloid’s publisher AMI made a public statement naming Sanchez as the sole source of the tip
Hollywood talent agent Sanchez, 56, claims that he was defamed by AMI and co when they named him as the ‘sole source’ for the tip and materials that led to the story of the affair being broken in The National Enquirer on January 9, 2019.
Earlier that same day, Bezos and his then wife Mackenzie Tuttle, 53, published an announcement on Twitter that they were separating.
According to Sanchez’s lawsuit, around that same time Lauren also then told her husband Patrick Whitesell, 58, the truth of her affair with Bezos, as well as sharing the fact that she had been approached for comment by The National Enquirer.
In truth, Sanchez, who was acting as a defacto manager and advisor to his sister at the time, was a source. But he was not, he asserts, the only source and nor did he bring the information to the publication.
Instead, he claims, that the publication approached him with knowledge of the affair in Fall 2018. He claims they knew about it as a result of a labyrinthine and political plot against Bezos which involved Lauren’s ex-husband and the Saudi Arabian government.
Bezos responded to the story’s publication by having his head of security mount an investigation into where it had come from.
Given his ownership of the liberal Washington Post and AMI’s affiliation with President Trump and the Saudi government, he wanted to know if the story was politically motivated.
In May 2018, AMI had published a 97-page special entitled, The New Kingdom profiling Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salam.
The Washington Post’s coverage of the murder of Saudi dissident, their columnist Jamal Khashoggi just five months later flew in the face of the modernizing image the nation was trying to project.
Court filings obtained by DailyMail.com show Lauren Sanchez’s lawyers have dismissed her brother’s latest bid to have her and Bezos deposed as nothing but an abusive ruse
Lauren was married to Hollywood mega agent Patrick Whitesell (left) when she and Bezos started their affair. The three of them are pictured in 2016
It later emerged that Saudi intelligence had indeed hacked Post owner Bezos’s phone with sophisticated spy wear, Pegasus – a program that gave them full access to all his communications and data.
According to Sanchez’s suit, AMI’s then CEO, Pecker, became ‘apoplectic’ when he learned that Bezos had launched an investigation into their sources.
At the time the story was published the magazine had claimed to have a ‘steamy picture too explicit to print.’
In February 2019 Dylan Howard, editor of the National Enquirer, informed Bezos first verbally and later by email, that he had obtained intimate text messages between the lovers as well as a ‘below the belt selfie,’ or ‘dick pick’ of Bezos.
Howard allegedly threatened to publish this material if Bezos didn’t shut down his investigation into the story source.
Instead, Bezos called his bluff and published the communications which, he characterized, as tantamount to extortion.
In the chaotic fallout of this mess, AMI made a public statement naming Sanchez as the solitary source of both the tip and all the materials relating to the story of his sister’s affair.
Sanchez has been locked in litigation over the matter for close to three years, during which time he brought a failed suit against Bezos himself.
Now, lawyers for Lauren and Bezos have dismissed his latest bid to have them both deposed as nothing but an abusive ruse.
Neither Bezos nor Lauren, they assert, has knowledge of the sourcing of the story and so neither can provide testimony that is in any way substantively new or pertinent to Sanchez’s case.
In a letter included in court filings and dated February 2022, Lauren’s attorney said it’s undisputed that she had shared information with her brother about her relationship with Bezos because she trusted him as family, and called his decision to speak to the media as a ‘deceitful betrayal’
Neither Lauren, 53, nor Bezos, 59, are parties to Sanchez’s suit, but his case turns on the details of the exposure of their affair four years ago
Moreover, Lauren’s lawyers point out, Sanchez ‘admitted privately that he disclosed her private information to AMI.’
In a letter included in court filings and dated February 2022, Lauren’s attorney Bird wrote: ‘It is undisputed that Ms. Sanchez shared with Mr. Sanchez information regarding her relationship with Mr. Bezos because she trusted him as her brother.
‘It is similarly undisputed that Mr. Sanchez took that information and offered to sell it to the National Enquirer for $300,000, before ultimately being paid $200,000, all without Ms. Sanchez’s knowledge of consent.’
Addressing Sanchez’s lawyers, Bird added: ‘The immensity of the harm caused to Ms. Sanchez by your client’s deceitful betrayal cannot easily be put into words, but it suffices to say that it was devastating.’
Bird went on to allege that with his legal filing Sanchez had, ‘Without even a scintilla of self-reflection or shame…asserted that it was he who had been manipulated, not his sister whose confidence he had betrayed, and that it was he who was the true victim.’
Lauren’s motion to have the subpoena to depose her quashed will be heard in the California District Court, May 2.
For his part Bezos filed a declaration in August 2022 in which he asserted, ‘I do not have knowledge of any source or sources of information…for the National Enquirer stories reporting or information or materials provided to them for the stories.’
He added, ‘I do not have first-hand knowledge of any hack of my cell phone by individuals from Saudi Arabia other than information that was made public by the United Nations.’
He has filed his intent to move to quash Sanchez’s subpoena to depose him immediately after Lauren’s hearing is complete.
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