Travolta lawyer accused in relation to blackmail sting

A lawyer for John Travolta denied trying to to set up a former Bahamas senator on trial for allegedly attempting to extort $25m (€17.1m) from the Hollywood star.

A lawyer for John Travolta denied trying to to set up a former Bahamas senator on trial for allegedly attempting to extort $25m (€17.1m) from the Hollywood star.

Michael McDermott told the court in Nassau he was following police instructions when he secretly recorded conversations with Pleasant Bridgewater, who is accused of demanding the money on behalf of a paramedic who treated the actor’s 16-year-old son, Jett, following a seizure that led to his death.

The recordings are expected to be played in court next week.

Prosecutors say the former senator and the paramedic, Tarino Lightbourne, later agreed to accept $10m (€6.9m) in instalments over a four-year period.

McDermott’s evidence came in response to suggestions by Bridgewater’s defence lawyer Murrio Ducille, that after the death he travelled to the Bahamas with the “sole mission” of setting Bridgewater up.

Mr Ducille accused Mr McDermott of arriving with “evil in his heart”.

But Mr McDermott said police told him to meet Bridgewater in a room fitted with hidden cameras and believed he could not say no.

Mr Ducille countered that as a lawyer, Mr McDermott should have known he was not obliged to participate in the sting.

“I’m a commercial litigator,” Mr McDermott replied. “I am not a criminal lawyer.”

The two have had a number of tense exchanges this week, and on Thursday testimony escalated into a shouting match that prompted Judge Anita Allen to call a halt to the proceedings. She issued a stern warning yesterday before the trial resumed.

Bridgewater and Lightbourne are accused of threatening to make public a consent form that Travolta signed authorising his autistic son to be flown to the US after the seizure, instead of seeking treatment in the Bahamas.

Travolta later changed his mind. Jett died at a local hospital on January 2.

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