Travolta testifies at Bahamas extortion trial

Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:47pm EDT
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By Neil Hartnell

NASSAU (Reuters) - John Travolta frantically tried to save his son by performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the actor told a Bahamian court on Wednesday in the trial of two people accused of attempting to extort $25 million from him.

A former Bahamas senator, Pleasant Bridgewater, 49, and former paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, 47, are accused of conspiring and attempting to extort money from Travolta with threats. Bridgewater is also accused of abetting extortion.

Travolta, with actress wife Kelly Preston looking on, told the court how the couple raced downstairs at their Grand Bahama vacation home in a desperate bid to save 16-year-old Jett after being alerted to their son's plight when a nanny pounded on their bedroom door.

Jett Travolta died in January during the family's New Year's vacation in the Bahamas. His death certificate listed the cause as seizure disorder.

Lightbourne was a paramedic at the scene. Bridgewater's role was not clear.

The Bahamas prosecutor, Bernard Turner, testified on Tuesday that Travolta was threatened with the release of potentially damaging statements if money was not paid.

Travolta told the Bahamian Supreme Court his son was autistic and suffered from a seizure disorder that triggered a seizure every five to 10 days, lasting 45 seconds to minutes.

The actor said that around 10:15 a.m. on January 2, while staying at the Old Bahama Bay Resort, he was awakened by Eli Wheaton, one of Jett's nannies, who was pounding on his bedroom door. The actor said he and his wife ran downstairs.   Continued...

<p>Actress Kelly Preston and her husband John Travolta (L) arrive at the 80th annual Academy Awards, the Oscars, in Hollywood, February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>