Travolta Extortion Case Begins in the Bahamas

John Travolta reportedly in Bahamas to testify against paramedic who drove Jett.

ByABC News
September 21, 2009, 10:10 PM

Sept. 22, 2009 -- Nearly nine months after the tragic death of John Travolta's 16-year-old son Jett, the case of two people who allegedly attempted to extort $25 million from the actor is set to go to trial today in the Bahamas.

Travolta is expected to be the first witness, according to People magazine, which is reporting that the actor has already arrived in the Bahamas and is staying in an exclusive gated community west of Nassau.

It is believed to be Travolta's first visit to the country since Jett died on Jan. 2 after suffering a seizure at the family's vacation home on Grand Bahama Island, southeast of Florida.

Travolta's rep Paul Bloch would not confirm the report.

"Because this is an ongoing criminal matter, we're not going to comment on any portion of it at all," he told

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in New Providence Supreme Court before a nine-member jury empanelled Monday. Travolta is among the 14-person list of potential witnesses.

The actor's last minutes with his son were described by Tarino Lightbourne, the paramedic who drove them to the hospital.

"It was me, him and Jett," Lightbourne told ABC's "Good Morning America" on 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.'"

Within weeks, authorities arrested the man who provided that touching description. Lightbourne was charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy to extort.

Bahamas Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater was also arrested and charged with conspiracy to extort.

Each has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail. Bridgewater later resigned from her office.

The extortion charges involve the pair's alleged plan to release a document if Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, did not pay them $25 million.

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.

But police said no such document was ever signed in this case.