John Travolta may testify at Bahamas extortion trial

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — John Travolta is among the potential witnesses at a Bahamas trial beginning Monday for two people accused of trying to extort $25 million from the movie star, according to court officials.

An ambulance driver and a former Bahamas senator allegedly targeted Travolta after his chronically ill son died in the Bahamas. They are accused of demanding money in exchange for not publicizing a document related to 16-year-old Jett Travolta's treatment.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday and the actor is on a list of people prosecutors could call to testify, Bahamas Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez said.

The trial in the capital, Nassau, returns the spotlight to the courts in this island chain off the Florida coast that has become familiar with celebrity cases. Last year, a jury inquest found the 2006 death of Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, in the Bahamas was the result of an accidental drug overdose.

The Travolta case began with an extortion complaint that the actor filed with Bahamas police in January, days after his son died at a family vacation home on Grand Bahama island. Jett Travolta had a history of seizures and was found unconscious in a bathroom. A Bahamas undertaker said the death certificate listed "seizure" as the cause of death.

Former Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, who was among those who tried to revive Jett after he collapsed Jan. 2, have pleaded innocent to charges including conspiracy to commit extortion.

The pair allegedly threatened Travolta with a document that would have released emergency responders from liability if the family refused an ambulance. However, police said that did not happen in Jett's case. It is unclear why the pair allegedly believed Travolta would pay to keep the document from being released.

Both defendants have been free on bail.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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