- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NASSAU, Bahamas — John Travolta testified Wednesday that a Bahamas paramedic threatened to sell stories to the news media suggesting the movie star was at fault in the death of his 16-year-old son.

Mr. Travolta said paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, who is now on trial for extortion, demanded $25 million.

If he did not pay, Mr. Travolta told the jury, Mr. Lightbourne indicated he would use against him a consent document that the actor initially signed refusing to have son Jett sent to a local hospital. The document cleared Mr. Lightbourne of any liability.

“They were stories that would imply that the death of my son was intentional and I was culpable in some way,” Mr. Travolta said.

Mr. Travolta was testifying in the second week of the trial of Mr. Lightbourne and Pleasant Bridgewater, a former Bahamas senator who allegedly negotiated with the actor’s lawyers for the medic. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Travolta testified last week that he signed the document because he initially wanted his son flown to Florida for treatment. But Jett, who had suffered a seizure at a family vacation home on Grand Bahama island, was taken instead to a local hospital, where he died on Jan. 2.

Mr. Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, left the Nassau courthouse immediately after his testimony in an entourage of cars with their attorneys and bodyguards.

A Bahamian attorney for Mr. Travolta, Allyson Maynard-Gibson, has testified that Mr. Bridgewater told her in a January meeting that the paramedic was talking with a woman from an unidentified American news outlet “who said it might be beneficial to him if he could show that Travolta was negligent.” She said Mr. Lightbourne was also in talks with several other media companies.

The actor testified that he authorized his lawyers to contact Bahamas police after hearing about the alleged threat from Mr. Lightbourne.

The trial began Sept. 21 and is expected to last several weeks.

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