As actor John Travolta prepares to take the stand in the Bahamas today, a hidden-camera video could provide incriminating evidence in the case against two people accused of trying to blackmail the actor for $25 million for documents relating to the January death of his teenage son.
The video reportedly captures one of the defendants, paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, negotiating with Travolta's lawyer, Michael McDermott, for a payoff to keep do-not-transfer documents signed by Travolta confidential, according to a report by People magazine. Near the end of the 44-minute tape, the pair reportedly settled on a price of $15 million.
"Case closed. Case closed," Lightbourne says in the video. "Once this is closed, it's buried deeper than the Titanic."
The alleged extortion did not stay buried for long, however, as Travolta's bodyguard of 23 years said during trial that he learned of the extortion attempt and was the one to tell Travolta. Travolta took the two defendants to trial earlier this month.
In the trial's latest twist, a police report claimed Bahamian lawmaker Pleasant Bridgewater, also charged with blackmailing Travolta, burned her copy of the key medical record in the case, using a candle to ignite the document, and flushed the ashes down the toilet after she got nervous the "incident was about to explode."
The paperwork they allegedly threatened to release is a "refusal to transport," which someone would sign when refusing emergency medical services, thereby releasing first responders from liability.
The do-not-transfer documents were signed by Travolta, meaning he wanted son Jett, 16, taken to Florida for treatment. But the actor later changed his mind and accompanied Jett to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Travolta Takes the Stand
Travolta took the stand last week to detail his actions on the night of his son's death.
"I ran downstairs with my wife to help my son," Travolta said, according to The Associated Press.
In his testimony, he said he and Preston were awakened by a nanny around 10:15 a.m. Jan. 2, the day of Jett's death. Travolta said that when he went downstairs, another caretaker was doing chest compressions, and he began administering breathing help.
The testimony was apparently the first time Travolta had talked publicly about his son's autism. He had said in the past that Jett suffered from Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels.
Lightbourne rode with Travolta and his son in Jett's last moments.
"It was me, him and Jett," Lightbourne told ABC's "Good Morning America" Jan. 5. "I'll never forget this day. I saw him lean over and hug his son and kiss his son and tell him he loved him and I did everything I could. I saw love in his eyes, I saw love. [Travolta] hugged him, put his arm around him, kissed him on the forehead and the cheek and told him he loved him. He then turned to me and gave me a hug and said, 'You guys did a wonderful job.'"
People magazine reporter Mike Fleeman, who heard the hidden-camera tape, said it represented a "smoking gun" against Lightbourne but may not be allowed in the courtroom as the defense is strongly opposed to its inclusion in the trial.
Both Lightbourne and Bridgewater have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years or more in prison.
ABC News' Mary Rose Abraham contributed to this report.