Jon Fine, an attorney for American Media Inc. who played a central role in the company’s public dispute with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over an alleged extortion attempt, previously worked for the e-commerce giant.
In a Nov. 18 press release announcing Fine’s appointment as its deputy general counsel, AMI noted that Fine had “held key legal positions at some of the largest media companies in the world including Amazon, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Random House, Inc., and King World Productions.”
“Jon is an extraordinary media attorney with a diverse and thorough knowledge of the intricacies of media law,” American Media executive vice president and chief legal officer Eric Klee said in a statement at the time. “With the addition of Jon, we have rounded out our internal legal team to provide AMI with one of the most talented staffs in the business.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment on Fine’s previous employment with the company.
In a scathing blog post published on Thursday, Bezos alleged that AMI, which owns the National Enquirer, had engaged in “extortion and blackmail” by threatening to publish personal photos of the Amazon CEO and his reported girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. The magazine said it would release the photos unless Bezos dropped an investigation into how it had obtained text messages between him and Sanchez and issued a statement affirming that the Enquirer’s reporting was not politically motivated.
Bezos’ post included the full text of emails exchanged between his legal representatives, an Enquirer editor and AMI’s attorneys. In one of the emails, Fine sent Bezos’ representative proposed terms of an agreement related to the photos.
“These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism” Bezos said. “Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
Bezos also referenced the relationship between AMI CEO David Pecker and President Trump. The president has frequently criticized Bezos over coverage of his administration by the Washington Post, the newspaper the Amazon CEO owns.
AMI said in a statement that it “believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos,” but would launch an investigation into any potential wrongdoing.