Celebrity News

Former Senator Arraigned in Travolta Case

By:
Jan 28, 2009 | 10:06am EST

The former Bahamas senator arrested over an alleged plot to extort money from movie John Travolta has been arraigned on two charges in the case, days after vowing to prove her innocence.

Pleasant Bridgewater was arrested last Thursday for her alleged involvement in plans to extort money from Travolta and his wife while the couple was mourning the loss of their teenage son Jett.

She resigned from her post this past Monday, insisting she would fight the "untrue and unfair charges" against her.

Bridgewater was charged in court today with "abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort", following accusations she conspired with an ambulance driver to release a document related to the 16-year-old's death.

Travolta is one of 14 witnesses expected to testify as part of the Bahamian Attorney General's prosecution case.

Under Bahamian law, Bridgewater was not required to enter a plea. She is next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 11.

Emergency medical technician Tarino Lightbourne has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to extort and conspiracy to extort from the movie star after being charged this past Monday.

Bahamian authorities say paramedic Lightbourn was attempting to sell a one-page "refusal to transport" letter signed by John for the sum of $25 million dollars.

Lightbourn was the first paramedic on the scene to help transport Travolta’s son Jett to the hospital when the 16-year-old suffered a seizure on Jan. 2. The teen later died.

"The document did not apply in the Travolta case," Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames tells People.com. "It did not apply because he was very ill, and so, the only alternative would be to take him to the hospital. Refusal to transport documents are for cases involving minor injuries. If your injuries are minor and you don't want to be transported, the ambulance driver would produce that form. It waives responsibility on the part of the hospital."

Dames says the alleged case started two weeks ago when Lightbourn's attorney, former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, contacted Travolta's attorney and said that her client was interested in selling the document. Travolta responded by contacting the Royal Bahamian Police via his lawyer.

"The complaint states the request was for $25 million," he says. "At the time, she represented the young man. She would have made the request."

Now authorities must determine the authenticity of the "refusal to transport" letter. Dames says, "we don't know where the original is. We don't know if he generated the document."

The senior assistant commissioner believes that the Travolta's did everything they could for their son.

"We were satisfied from all our investigations that the Travolta family and those who rendered aid to Jett did all that was humanly possible to revive Jett," Dames says. "All did what they were able to resuscitate him."

"There's no evidence to support that there was any effort to avoid medical treatment," he adds. "Lightbourn said that himself in several interviews."

The Travolta’s close family friend former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchombe was detained on Friday, but released. No charges were filed.

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