September 30, 2009

Travolta takes stand in extortion trial

John Travolta testified in a Bahamian court Wednesday that an employee first informed him of the alleged extortion plot involving his son's death.

The film star first took the stand last week in the trial of former Bahamian senator Pleasant Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, who have pleaded innocent to charges they attempted to sell confidential documents pertaining to 16-year-old Jett Travolta's death to his parents for $25 million.

Bridgewater and Lightbourne allegedly threatened to release the documents to the media if Travolta didn't pay them.

E! News quoted the actor as testifying Wednesday that he called his lawyer immediately after an employee first told him about the demand and that the attorney then contacted the authorities.

Travolta admitted he was never contacted directly by the defendants, but said his trusted staffer relayed the message to him from Bridgewater and Lightbourne that if he didn't pay the $25 million they would go public with information imply(ing) that the death of my son was intentional and I was culpable in some way.

Travolta said last week he signed a document releasing the ambulance company from liability in his son's care, while he decided whether to fly the teen -- who was autistic and suffered a seizure -- to Florida or have him treated at a local hospital. The family has a home in Ocala, Fla.

Jett Travolta was ultimately taken to a medical facility in the Bahamas where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead Jan. 2.