• Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is accusing the deputy general counsel of the National Enquirer’s parent company of attempting to extort him. A blog post by Bezos includes a purported email from American Media Inc.'s deputy GC Jon Fine, previously an in-house lawyer at Amazon, setting out proposed terms of a deal in which American Media won’t publish sexually explicit photos of Bezos, and related texts, if Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, lays off investigations of the company and its owner. (BN) (Corporate Counsel) (WaPo)

  • The accusations could undermine American Media’s non-prosecution deal with federal authorities over alleged illegal aid to the Trump campaign. (BN)

  • The House Financial Services Committee is hiring a former top Senate investigating lawyer, “Wall Street nemesis” Bob Roach, to help run its upcoming probe of Deutsche Bank AG, and its dealings with Russia, and President Trump. Roach is expected to join the House committee’s staff under new Democratic Chairwoman Maxine Waters later in February. (BN via BLB)

  • In a separate matter, Waters is calling for scrutiny of BB&T Corp’s $28.2 billion purchase of SunTrust Banks Inc, which was advised by Sullivan & Cromwell. Wachtell advised BB&T on the deal, said to be the largest bank merger in a decade, creating the sixth largest U.S. bank holding company. (BLAW via BLB) (BN)

  • Saul Ewing opened an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to be staffed by eight new partners hired from local firm Gray Plant Mooty, focused on corporate, worklaw, M&A, securities, energy, and other matters, and bringing several staff members. Saul Ewing said the new office, its 16th, will allow it to serve core clients in the city, and to continue its expansion into the Midwest. (Saul.com)

  • Morrison & Foerster client VMware, Inc., a unit of Dell Technologies, is acquiring AetherPal, Inc., which provides remote support and mobile support solutions. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. (Virtualization and Cloud Review) (VMware.com) (MoFo.com)

  • As political and economic turmoil churns in Venezuela, Holland & Knight said it formed a 20-partner team to help clients that have interests in the country. The team, with co-chairs in Miami and Bogota, has expertise in sanctions and trade, corporate and tax, energy and natural resources, real estate and hospitality, and international disputes, the firm said. (HKlaw.com) (Daily Business Review)

  • Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. won a U.S. bankruptcy judge‘s approval for their $5.2 billion bid to keep the once-dominant retailer alive. (BN via BLB)

  • January brought news of two major investments in e-discovery technology: E-discovery startup DISCO announced it raised $83 million in venture capital funding; and publicly traded enterprise content management company OpenText acquired e-discovery company Catalyst Repository Systems in a $75 million all-cash transaction. (BLAW’s Corporate Transactions Blog)

  • Ed Sheeran, a Pryor Cashman client, has to face a jury over copyright infringement claims filed by the estate of a co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On,” a federal judge ruled. (BLAW via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Hershey Co. faces a federal race and age bias lawsuit filed by its its former senior counsel for global intellectual property. Kurt Ehresman, 52-years old and white, said the company told him his job was eliminated, but he later found out he’d been replaced by an under-40, black, female lawyer. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Cozen O’Connor said its client the First Lutheran Church reached a settlement of its religious liberty lawsuit against the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. (StarTribune.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Haynes and Boone said Jones Day global project development and finance lawyer Myles Mantle joined the firm’s London office as a partner in its energy practice group. (HaynesBoone.com)

  • Dykema expanded its products, class actions & professional liability practice group, adding trial attorneys Jeffrey J. Cox, Deron L. Wade, Prescott W. Smith, and Clay A. Cossé in its Dallas office, all arriving from Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer. (Dykema.com)

  • Quarles & Brady said former Federal Trade Commission senior attorney David Wiese joined its business law group as a partner in the firm’s Washington office. Wiese worked in-house previously at General Motors and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Quarles.com)

  • Mintz said former Mayer Brown real estate attorney Robert G. Koen joined the firm as a member in New York. (Mintz.com)

  • Michael Best said Steve Israel, former congressman and member of the Democratic leadership representing Long Island, New York, in the U.S. House of Representatives, joined the firm’s consulting and lobbying arm Michael Best Strategies LLC as a member of its Board of Advisors. (MichaelBest.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Louisiana from requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at a local hospital, giving a reprieve to clinics as the justices consider whether to take up an appeal. (BN via BLB)

  • Transamerica Life Insurance Co., advised by MoFo and others, will pay $195 million to resolve class allegations it improperly increased monthly deduction rates on life insurance policies. (BLAW)

  • Woody Allen is suing Amazon Studios for $68 million, accusing the company of backing out of a four-movie deal because of sex abuse allegations the director that Allen calls “baseless.” (Variety)

  • Cox Communications Inc., advised by Squire Patton Boggs, must face a certified class of non-subscribers who allegedly received robocalls to collect on Cox accounts, a federal court ruled. (BLAW)

  • PopSugar Inc., represented by Keker, Van Nest & Peters, has to face claims filed under California state law by so-called Instagram influencers that it posted photographs from their Instagram posts on its website without their permission. (BLAW)