The legal barbs between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend, reached a Seattle court Thursday. The squabble is related to an unsuccessful defamation suit Sanchez lodged last year against Bezos, which ended in a court order that Sanchez pay the legal fees of Bezos and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker.
Bezos filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Thursday contending Sanchez tried to conceal the ownership of his largest asset — a multimillion-dollar home — to avoid paying that $254,404 judgment.
A representative for Sanchez, though, contends Bezos’ suit is nothing more than “bullying.”
“Earlier this week, Mr. Sanchez authorized his team to coordinate with Mr. Bezos’ counsel concerning payment of the judgment,” said Tom Warren, Sanchez’s attorney, in a statement. “Had Mr. Bezos’ attorneys bothered to reach out to Mr. Sanchez’ counsel before filing a lawsuit against him, they would have known that to be the case.” Also on Thursday, Sanchez — who is appealing the dismissal of his prior defamation suit — in a court filing asked a California judge to sanction Bezos “for pursuing frivolous motions for sanctions and to dismiss.”
Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez sprang into public view in early 2019, after Michael Sanchez provided The National Enquirer with intimate text messages between the couple.
Michael Sanchez sued Bezos and de Becker for defamation in January 2020, contending Bezos’ and de Becker’s statements that Michael Sanchez had also provided photographs of Bezos’ genitalia to The National Enquirer were false and damaging.
A judge dismissed Michael Sanchez’s suit and ordered him to pay Bezos and de Becker’s legal fees.
Michael Sanchez has not paid, Bezos and de Becker said in the new lawsuit. In part to avoid paying the judgment, Michael Sanchez transferred the ownership of a Los Angeles home to a shell company he controls before listing it for sale for nearly $2.5 million, the suit contends. The property went under contract Thursday.
Seattle-based asset-protection attorney Shreya Ley, the organizer of the company that holds Michael Sanchez’s property, did not immediately respond to questions.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Tom Warren, and to correct the location of Michael Sanchez’s home. It is in Los Angeles, not West Hollywood.