Travolta blackmail trial told of 'detrimental' document

Travolta blackmail trial told of 'detrimental' document

A paramedic who treated John Travolta’s chronically ill son was ready to release private information to the media unless he was paid $25m for a document he believed “detrimental” to the Hollywood star, a Bahamas court was told.

Allyson Maynard-Gibson, a lawyer for Travolta and the opposition leader in the archipelago’s senate, said ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne’s lawyer told her days after the autistic teenager’s death in January that the paramedic wanted to give the actor “first option” to buy the document.

Ms Maynard-Gibson told the jury that the lawyer, former Bahamas senator Pleasant Bridgewater, who is also facing extortion charges along with Lightbourne, told her during a January 15 meeting that the paramedic had been talking to international media companies and that the document “could belong to Travolta or it could belong to the world”.

Lightbourne “had been in contact with a lady from the US media who said it might be beneficial to him if he could show that Travolta was negligent”, Ms Maynard-Gibson told the Nassau court, without disclosing the person’s identity.

The document, which Travolta signed, would have cleared the ambulance driver of liability if the family refused to send 16-year-old Jett Travolta to the hospital. The actor told the court last week that he initially wanted his son flown to Florida for treatment after a seizure on January 2 that resulted in Jett’s death.

But Jett was treated in the Bahamas and it is unclear why the defendants allegedly believed Travolta would pay to keep the document private.

Ms Maynard-Gibson, who was also a former attorney general in the Bahamas, said Bridgewater told her she had warned Lightbourne that “what he was doing was wrong and that it would detrimental to the country”.

The trial, which began on September 21, is expected to last several weeks. Travolta is expected to give further evidence later.

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