Is Jeff Bezos the real billionaire bully?
Although Jeff Bezos has attempted to claim he is a “victim” of “extortion” involving accurate news reporting about his marital philandering and possible financial risks to Amazon.com, legal expert Andy Martin suggests it is probably Bezos himself, and not the National Enquirer, who is the real bully.
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GOP Conservative activist Andy Martin says “Jeff Bezos is a billionaire bully”
Martin says Bezos may have pulled off a scam by accusing the National Enquirer of extortion, When the real extortionist is Bezos himself
Martin says left-wing national media are spawning conspiracy theories faster than anyone can absorb them
Andy resumes his series of national and New Hampshire-based columns about critical issues
(Manchester, NH) (February 11, 2019)
Almost all of you may have heard by now of the claim by Amazon.com owner Jeff Bezos that he has been “extorted” or “blackmailed” by the National Enquirer and its parent organization.
In this, my first 2019 letter to the people of New Hampshire and the American people, I express my contrarian view that Bezos may himself be the real extortionist and blackmailer, not the Enquirer. Bezos may have pulled off a classic scam by fooling the liberal media into believing he is a victim when in reality he is the victimizer.
This year I celebrate fifty (50, wow) years since graduating from law school. I have a considerably greater and broader amount of litigation experience than many of the so-called “legal experts” on the cable TV networks. In fact, you will read something below that so far as I am aware has not been meaningfully discussed anywhere on cable TV. It’s an exclusive.
First, a couple of small matters. In a few days I hope to announce my political plans for 2020 in New Hampshire. I also plan to publish a critique of the New Hampshire Republican Party’s conduct over the past decade, with a prescription for progress going forward. I don’t think my writing on Bezos has any relationship to the upcoming political activity. I am a conservative Republican but that’s a well-known fact.
Turning now to Bezos, the media have discussed the broad First Amendment privilege applicable to bona fide reporting. The National Enquirer has been in business for decades. It has published massive amounts of news which literally changed the face of politics. The Enquirer, for example, was the first to report on the infidelity of Senator John Edwards and the baby he fathered with Rielle Hunter.
The Enquirer mentioned me in a news story over twenty-five years ago. My claims led to legislative reform.
Our system of free speech in unique in the world. We allow unbridled publication of sometimes embarrassing, sometimes erroneous, often scandalous but true and almost always controversial information about public officials, celebrities and their private lives.
There is even an enhanced protection for publishing information which is true. The Enquirer’s stories on Bezos were true. He apparently admits the reporting was accurate but protests that it was/is “invasive.”
The fact that Jeff Bezos was carrying on an extramarital affair was indisputably legitimate news, especially when it could affect control of Amazon.com (his wife apparently has an equal interest in “Bezos” Amazon stock).
So how did Bezos react?
He hired a team of investigators, as is his right, to investigate where the embarrassing leak came from. Early on, the brother of Bezos’ paramour was identified as a strong suspect.
Lately Bezos is floating a conspiracy theory that Saudi Arabia is responsible for exposing his misconduct.
Bottom line: the Enquirer had a right to publish, and Bezos had a right to investigate. So far, no problem.
Then it gets dicey. At some point the Enquirer’s people approached Bezos. But it is also likely that Bezos’ people approached the Enquirer. They were facing off. Again, no problem. That’s what lawyers do. They “negotiate” and try to settle disputes. Settlement is the backbone of the legal system.
But the media have failed to even mention, let alone discuss, one of the most critical doctrines in civil law: there is an almost absolute privilege afforded to settlement negotiations. Bezos’ company itself uses privileged settlement negotiations, see Eat Right Foods vs. Whole Foods, 880 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2018). Settlement negotiations are covered by Rule 408 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the area is complex, see Rhoades v. Avon Products, 504 F.3d 1151 (9th Cir. 2007).
When parties engage in settlement negotiations, the normal rules are suspended. During settlement the lawyers almost always bully and threaten each other. In the Enquirer story involving me 25 years ago, I was threatened and bullied by a prominent Hollywood lawyer. (I ignored his threats.)
I have always been very conservative about advising lawyers in settlement negotiations. But some lawyers like to threaten and pound on the table. I am not aware of anyone who has ever been prosecuted for threats made in civil settlement negotiations. Have the media provided any examples? None. So, where’s the story, Jeff? It looks like Bezos, embarrassed by being an unfaithful husband, was trying to bamboozle the American people into believing he’s a “victim” when in reality he is the victimizer. Bezos’ threats backfired on him, and may backfire even more if the pictures leak out to another media platform.
None of the media have addressed the broad privilege accorded settlement negotiations and settlement offers afforded by Rule 408. Instead, they have adopted Bezos’ scam as their own because Bezos used the “magic word:” Trump. I suspect President Trump knew nothing of what was happening and only leaned about the fracas when it appeared in the newspaper.
It is clear that the Enquirer made a settlement offer. That offer, far from being a criminal act, was close to being an absolutely privileged communication.
So why is Bezos the bully and extortionist?
Bezos’ attorneys almost certainly also made counteroffers of settlement and compromise to the Enquirer. It is likely they were just as threatening and belligerent as those made by the Enquirer. But since the Enquirer is engaging in a constitutionally protected activity, news reporting, Bezos’ ability to threaten the Enquirer is much more restricted than if the Enquirer had published false stories. Bezos’ lawyers apparently didn’t like the Enquirer’s counter-settlement offer and took the controversy public.
So, who’s the real “guilty” party here? Bezos. He betrayed his wife, carrying on like a teenager with a married woman (who was also betraying her husband). He acted in a way more typical of a juvenile, taking selfies of his anatomy and sending them to his goumada. By email. And this man runs an Internet company? When he could not reach a settlement agreement with the Enquirer Bezos started acting like a wounded bull. It all sounds like “Bezos bull” to me.
Beware of the biased media that are trying to promote Bezos’ bull and seeing make this a Trump/Enquirer issue.
So-called legal analysts were quick to say “prosecutors are investigating.” When did the U. S. Attorney’s office in New York City become our national nanny to referee media disputes? The whole “prosecutors are investigating” trope is totally insincere.
Some liberal cable TV channels already have the Enquirer’s staff being hauled off to jail, and the newspaper being put out of business. Mr. Bezos has tried to pull a scam on the American people by pretending he’s the victim. In just a few days we went from Bezos’s gumshoes saying “it’s the brother” to “its’s the Saudis.” That’s “Amazon Prime” bull. Bezos is the bully, not the Enquirer. Near as I can tell, the Enquirer was only trying to make money by publishing a truthful story about Bezos. When did that become a crime?
Bezos’ bull and his bullying tactics may yet backfire on him.
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ANDY MARTIN – A BRIEF BIO:
Andy Martin is a legendary New Hampshire-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. With over fifty (50) years of background in radio and television and with decades of intelligence, investigative and analytical experience in Washington, the USA and around the world, Andy provides insight on politics, foreign policy, military and intelligence matters. For a full bio, go to: www.AndyMartin.com; also see www.BoycottABC.com/executive_director.htm
Andy has also been a leading corruption fighter in American politics and courts for over fifty years and is executive director of the National Anti-Corruption Policy Institute. See also www.FirstRespondersOnline.us; www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com.
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
He is the author of “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [www.OrangeStatePress.com] and produced the Internet film “Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” [www.BoycottHawaii.com]. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” blogging at www.contrariancommentary.wordpress.com and www.ContrarianCommentary.com.
Andy’s family immigrated to Manchester, New Hampshire over 100 years ago; today his home overlooks the Merrimack River and he lives around the corner from where he played as a small boy. He is New Hampshire’s leading corruption fighter and Republican Party reformer.
Andy’s opinion columns are posted at ContrarianCommentary.com, ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com and ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com
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