Travolta returned to the stand in a Nassau courtroom on Wednesday (30Sep09) to testify against former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, who are charged with conspiracy to extort $25 million (£17.2 million) from the grieving family following Jett’s death in January (09).
The 16 year old suffered a fatal seizure while on a family vacation on the Caribbean island.
During direct examination, Travolta told the court how his friend and employee Ronald Zupancic had alerted him to the bribery plot over a medical document the actor had signed after requesting the paramedics drive the family to the airport. The actor initially believed it would be faster to fly Jett to a hospital in Florida, but subsequently changed his mind.
The Refusal of Treatment/Transportation form releases the medics from liability.
Travolta said, “(Zupancic) was upset. He said that there was a threat and a demand of money that Mr. McDermott, my attorney, had alerted him to with a release paper that I had signed in the Bahamas.
“I spoke to my attorney, and he needed to investigate the matter. I gave him permission to go to the authorities based on the information he gave me.”
When prosecutor Bernard Turner asked what would happen if the Travoltas snubbed Bridgewater and Lightbourne’s demand, Travolta replied, “If it were not met, then certain stories connected to that document would be sold to the press. They were stories that implied that the death of my son was intentional – that I was culpable in some way.”
The two defendants have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues.