American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer, asked the Justice Department of guidance on whether it should register as a foreign agent for Saudi Arabia after they published a bizarre 100-page glossy magazine promoting the country and its leader.
The Wall Street Journal reported that American Media (AMI) asked the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit if it should register as a Saudi agent after publishing the magazine ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit to Washington DC in 2018.
“According to your submission, [U.S. corporation] created and published [publication] [text deleted], to coincide with the visit of [foreign government leader],” said a letter from the DOJ to AMI that was obtained by The Journal.
The DOJ said that the magazine did not qualify it as a foreign agent under the existing law.
David Pecker’s ties to Saudi Arabia exposed:
David Pecker, the head of AMI and a longtime friend of President Trump who worked with his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to kill stories about alleged affairs with Trump during the campaign, was called out over his Saudi ties by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos, in a letter detailing what he called AMI’s attempts to “blackmail and extort” him over photos stolen from his phone, wrote that Pecker was “apoplectic” after the Amazon chief’s investigation into the leak began to look at his ties to Saudi money.
The “Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” he wrote.
The New York Times reported last year that Trump “rewarded” Pecker’s loyalty during the campaign by inviting him to a White House dinner with a guest linked to the Saudi Royal family.
Pecker then traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet the crown prince himself and believed the Saudis would help fund his coveted acquisition of Time magazine. The magazine was later acquired by Meredith Corp thanks to funding from the Koch brothers before being sold to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff.
AMI could face legal jeopardy:
AMI entered into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors after they admitted to helping Trump kill the affair stories during the campaign. Former US Attorney Joyce White Vance wrote that the revelations about the Bezos blackmail plot could put the company in legal jeopardy.
“The ultimate question with David Pecker & AMI is why, after receiving a non-prosecution agreement from SDNY, they exposed themselves to the risk of prosecution by going after Bezos with hacked info. Reports Bezos’ mistress’ brother gave it to them may provide a clue,” she wrote.
“David Sanchez, the brother, has links to Roger Stone & Carter Page. Prosecutors don’t believe in coincidences. Possibilities range from AMI trying to curry favor with Trump after cutting a deal with prosecutors to coordination taking down someone Trump identified as an enemy,” she explained.
“There is no proof of AMI’s motives yet, but it’s odd as other have said that the king of catch & kill ran the story instead of blackmailing Bezos with it,” she added. “As quickly as this story is moving, we’re likely to learn more. This could be one big shoe drop by the time it’s over.”