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Bezos’ girlfriend shared his texts, photos with friends before Enquirer leak

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Bezos' girlfriend shared his texts, photos with friends before Enquirer leak

Jeff Bezos‘ girlfriend has privately acknowledged that she shared some photos and texts from the Amazon founder with several female friends, adding to the mystery of who leaked salacious material to the National Enquirer, according to a source close to the couple.

In addition, the girlfriend, television personality Lauren Sanchez, also had the contents of her computer downloaded onto her assistant’s computer for safekeeping, according to the source.

What’s more, investigators for Bezos are aware that Sanchez shared the photos and texts because, with her cooperation, they were able to trace the material in the cloud, where most computer and phone messages and images are stored.

It could not be determined whether any of the material that Sanchez shared with friends was sexually explicit. But it casts the probe in a new light at a time when Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, is accusing the Enquirer’s parent company of trying to blackmail him over still-unpublished nude photos and intimate texts.

The firm, American Media Inc., owned by President Trump’s friend David Pecker, has insisted that it obtained the Bezos texts and pictures lawfully.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Pecker’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, while saying there was “absolutely” no blackmail or extortion, described the leaker as a man, “somebody close to both Bezos and Miss Sanchez,” who has provided information to the Enquirer for seven years. Abramowitz refused to say whether he was talking about Michael Sanchez, Lauren’s brother, who has drawn scrutiny in the case.

The Daily Beast quoted “multiple sources inside AMI” as saying that Michael Sanchez provided the Bezos texts to the Enquirer.

Asked for comment, Sanchez told me: “Multiple potential suspects in the leaks were investigated. Of all those possible suspects, I’m the only one who never had access to below-the-belt selfies. So any attempt to implicate me in this is 100 percent false.”

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The source said Lauren Sanchez also shared a few innocuous Bezos texts and pictures with her brother, including a shot of the couple posing on a mountaintop, out of a sense of love and pride. Investigators did not ask to examine Michael Sanchez’s computer or phone.

Gavin de Becker, the prominent security consultant who is overseeing the probe for Bezos, declined to comment.

De Becker has interviewed Michael Sanchez as part of the leak probe, and for that reason has dismissed Sanchez’s disparaging comments about him. Bezos has called de Becker “one of the smartest and most capable leaders I know.”

Sanchez himself told Bezos and his sister when the story broke that he would have to be investigated because of his proximity to the couple. He specifically assured them that he is not the leaker.

Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent manager, has tried, with little success, to play a peacemaking role. Days before the Enquirer published the story about Bezos’ affair, the tabloid sent Sanchez a letter — with 44 bullet points — requesting comment.

Michael Sanchez planned to fly to New York to find out what evidence the tabloid had and try to soften the story while pointing out factual errors. He made arrangements to sit down with Dylan Howard, a longtime friend who is the tabloid company’s top news executive. Sanchez kept in communication with the couple and de Becker about his intermediary role and planned a conference call with them once he was briefed on the details of the pending Enquirer story.

But Bezos decided to preempt the story by tweeting about his planned divorce from his wife, McKenzie. At that point, AMI executives refused to meet with Sanchez and soon published the piece.

Still, Michael Sanchez kept trying to broker a cease-fire. He arranged a photo op with Lauren Sanchez as she went to a Santa Monica airport and got on a helicopter, with AMI’s Us Weekly running the “exclusive” pictures under the headline “All Smiles: First Photos Show Jeff Bezos’ Girlfriend Lauren Sanchez Carefree After Scandal.”

But that limited cooperation imploded late last week when Bezos accused AMI of trying to blackmail him, posting a company email suggesting that his nude selfies could be published unless he stopped accusing the Enquirer of a politically motivated hit job.

The behind-the-scenes battle turns on fundamental questions about Bezos’ strategy. Is he a journalistic hero, praised by Bob Woodward, taking a brave stand against terrible tabloid tactics? Or, as Michael Sanchez has argued, has Bezos inflamed the situation and turned one embarrassing episode into a nonstop national soap opera?

Michael Sanchez is a Trump supporter, and his connections to Trump World figures caught up in the Robert Mueller probe have also come under scrutiny in light of the well-known acrimony between the president and Bezos.

Sanchez has twice met Roger Stone, who has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, and Carter Page once through a minor business deal. But he has been in touch with both men about the leaks and whether they might have involved hacking, according to electronic correspondence.

In fact, Michael Sanchez proposed that de Becker, and possibly Bezos himself, sit down with Page in a secure location to discuss the security aspects of the leak. De Becker seemed interested, but no meeting materialized. Sanchez told me that Bezos, his sister, and de Becker knew of every conversation he has had with Page and Stone. The Washington Post reported that both Page and Stone have denied any involvement in the Bezos leak.

The stakes are sky-high for all sides. AMI is under an immunity deal with federal prosecutors after Pecker acknowledged his involvement in hush-money payments to Trump accusers, and any finding of improper behavior now could have legal consequences.

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Lauren Sanchez, a former L.A. television host, has been an entertainment reporter, host of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” and runs a film production company. She is married to Patrick Whitesell, co-CEO of powerhouse talent agency William Morris Endeavor.

Bezos is not only facing personal embarrassment, but his divorce could impact his Amazon fortune and perhaps the company itself.

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Lorraine Warren dies at 92; paranormal investigator inspired ‘The Conjuring’ films

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Lorraine Warren dies at 92; paranormal investigator inspired 'The Conjuring' films

World-wide paranormal investigator and author Lorraine Warren, whose decades of ghost-hunting cases with her late husband inspired such frightening films as “The Conjuring” series and “The Amityville Horror,” died. She was 92.

Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera and grandson Chris McKinnell posted Friday on Facebook that Warren died in her sleep Thursday night at her Connecticut home. Phone messages and emails were left with several of Warren’s family members. Warren’s attorney, Gary Barkin, confirmed his client’s death via email to The Associated Press.

AMERICA’S FIRST WOMAN ASTRONAUT CANDIDATE DEAD AT 88

“She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul,” Spera wrote.

The Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in Monroe, Connecticut, in 1952 to investigate suspected hauntings. The group also posted of her passing on Facebook.

During their 61 years of marriage, Lorraine and Ed Warren investigated more than 10,000 cases in the U.S. and abroad, often writing about their experiences. Their unusual profession has been credited with sparking popular interest in the paranormal, as well as the television shows and films now dedicated to the subject.

“When nobody was really even talking about ghosts, they were just two people from Bridgeport, Connecticut, who came together and fell in love and Ed happened to have had a lot of paranormal instances when he was growing up and Lorraine was always the sensitive clairvoyant,” said Larry Dwyer, a staff writer at the Horror News Network, a website that covers the horror film industry. He said the couple realized they could use their “gifts” and Catholic faith to help people who believed they were being tormented by ghosts or demons.

Ed Warren died in 2006 and Spera now oversees the New England Society for Psychic Research. The organization’s website said Lorraine Warren had “decided to retire from active investigations regarding the areas of haunted homes and demonic infestations/possessions” but was still a consultant to the organization at the time of her death.

The Warrens’ work did receive criticism from doubters over the years. The New England Skeptical Society in 1997 said the Warrens’ “copious anecdotal evidence” of reports of hauntings vastly outnumbered their “low-grade physical evidence.”

Warren told The AP in a 2013 interview that she understood it was very difficult for people to accept she could see ghosts if they had never seen one themselves.

“I hope you never will,” she said. “I really don’t.”

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The 2013 film “The Conjuring” is based on the couple’s investigation into alleged events at a Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s. Lorraine Warren visited the set during the filming. She also spent time at her Connecticut home with actress Vera Farmiga, who portrays Warren in the movie and its sequels. Farmiga expressed her condolences on Twitter Friday, saying she was “blessed to have known” Warren and “honored to portray her.”

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NFL’s Danny Amendola lashes out at ex Olivia Culpo after reports of her getting cozy with Zed

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NFL's Danny Amendola lashes out at ex Olivia Culpo after reports of her getting cozy with Zed

Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola slammed ex-girlfriend Olivia Culpo in a lengthy Instagram post Friday following reports that the former Miss Universe was cuddling up to Russian-German DJ Zed at Coachella.

OLIVIA CULPO, EX DANNY AMENDOLA REUNITE AT WEDDING

In the post, which has since been deleted, the 33-year-old slammed Culpo, 26, for her “fishbowl lifestyle,” explaining that he chooses to nail up picture frames of the people he loves the most inside his home to protect them from ridicule rather than post about them online.

“Olivia chooses and wants to be noticed on the internet and in Hollywood to make money,” Amendola said, claiming her need for media attention was hard for him to understand because he plays ball “for one reason and that’s RESPECT.”

Amendola said he and Culpo both made mistakes during the course of their “loving relationship” and mentioned their “crazy” sex life. The football star said Culpo often got angry with him for not posting about their romance on social media.

He added that he chooses to live outside the public’s critical eye even though he has “a whole cell phone of funny, embarrassing, sexy pics IG would love to have.”

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“We’ve been off and on for a long time and have not been together as of late!” he wrote, concluding his post with a jab at media reports of Culpo with other men, including a video circulating of Culpo with Zed during Ariana Grande’s set at Coachella, E! News reported.

“Not sure what’s in the future but the only thing I care about is her HAPPINESS. And if that’s dancing with scrony [sic] little f—, so be it.”

Amendola signed a contract with the Lions in March after previously playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in NXIVM sex cult case

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Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in NXIVM sex cult case

Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty on Friday in a widely publicized case accusing a cult-like upstate New York group of creating a secret harem of sex slaves for the group’s self-anointed spiritual leader.

Donning a beige blouse and blue pants, along with a blue and white scarf, Bronfman, 40, admitted in her plea in federal court in Brooklyn that she harbored someone who was living in the U.S. illegally for unpaid “labor and services” and that she committed credit card fraud on behalf of Keith Raniere, the spiritual leader of the group NXIVM.

ALLISON MACK PLEADS GUILTY TO RACKETEERING CHARGES IN NXIVM CASE

The daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. — told the judge that she had wanted to help people through NXIVM but ended up dishonoring her family.

Clare Bronfman, left, arrives at Federal court with her attorney Mark Geragos in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, April 19, 2019. Bronfman has pleaded guilty to charges implicating her in a sex-trafficking conspiracy case against an upstate New York self-help group. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Clare Bronfman, left, arrives at Federal court with her attorney Mark Geragos in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, April 19, 2019. Bronfman has pleaded guilty to charges implicating her in a sex-trafficking conspiracy case against an upstate New York self-help group. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“Your honor, I was afforded a great gift by my grandfather and father,” Bronfman said. “With the gift, comes immense privilege and more importantly, tremendous responsibility. It does not come with an ability to break the law.”

‘SMALLVILLE’ STAR ALLISON MACK CITES SCIENTOLOGY AS A DEFENSE IN SEX TRAFFICKING CASE

She added: “For this, I am truly sorry.”

As part of a plea agreement, Bronfman agreed to forfeit $6 million in addition to paying restitution to unnamed victims. She faces up to 27 months in prison at her sentencing scheduled for July 25.

Last week, former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty in the same Brooklyn federal court to racketeering charges in relation to the cultlike group. Mack entered her plea shortly before jury selection was scheduled to start.

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The plea means Bronfman and Mack will avoid going to trial early next month with Raniere, who is facing conspiracy charges alleging that his inner circle of loyalists created a secret society of women who were forced to have unwanted sex with him. Prosecutors say some of the women were branded with his initials as part of their initiation.

According to prosecutors, Bronfman had long been affiliated with NXIVM — giving away tens of millions of dollars of her fortune to bankroll Raniere and his program of intense self-improvement classes. She also paid for lawyers to defend the group against a lawsuit brought by its critics.

Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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