Judge dismisses John Travolta extortion case

Family did not want the 'stress and pain' of another trial

A Bahamian judge on Monday dismissed charges against two people accused of trying to extort $25 million from John Travolta over his son's death after the actor requested the case be dropped, Reuters reported.

The judge made the ruling after prosecutor Neil Braithwaite said he had been informed by Travolta that he and his family wanted to drop the case because it had caused them "unbelievable stress and pain."

Pleasant Bridgewater, a former member of the Bahamian Senate, and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne had been accused of attempting to extort $25 million from Travolta following the death of his 16-year-old son, Jett, from a seizure disorder in early January 2009 during a family vacation in the Bahamas. The two were accused of threatening to release private information about the incident.

Another judge had declared a mistrial in October after a local politician and party colleague of Bridgewater announced on local TV and radio the accused had been cleared, before the jury had formally issued a verdict.

Travolta had testified in that trial about his efforts to save his son. On Monday, the actor issued a statement saying the he did not want to go through that again.

"The long-pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family, causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us," the actor said in a statement. "Therefore, after much reflection I concluded that it was in my family's best interest for me not to voluntarily return to the Bahamas to testify a second time at trial."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
comments powered by Disqus