Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 11:20 UK

Travolta jury hears secret tapes

John Travolta and Kelly Preston
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston at court last month

A jury in the Bahamas court trial of a man accused of attempting to blackmail John Travolta over his son's death have been shown secretly-recorded tapes.

The tapes allegedly show politician Pleasant Bridgewater telling Mr Travolta's lawyer that a paramedic was demanding $20m (£12.6m) from the actor.

She said Tarino Lightbourne would sell stories suggesting Mr Travolta was at fault over his son's death if not paid.

Mr Travolta's son Jett died after suffering a seizure in January.

Police in the Bahamas, where the 16-year-old collapsed in his parents' holiday home, set up hidden cameras at a hotel room to capture Ms Bridgewater's meeting with Mr Travolta's lawyer Michael McDermott on 19 January.

Prosecutors at the trial say the two defendants agreed to accept $10m (£6.2m) in instalments over a four-year period before they were arrested.


On a second tape shown to jurors, recorded on 20 January in Mr McDermott's hotel room, the lawyer is seen asking Mr Lightbourne: "You know what we're both doing here is a criminal offence?"

Mr Lightbourne replies: "Yes".

Mr Travolta has said in a previous court appearance that the suspected threat from Mr Lightbourne related to a liability release form, freeing medical personnel of any responsibility for his son's death.

Tarino Lightbourne and Pleasant Bridgewater
Former senator Ms Bridgewater has since resigned from her seat

Mr Travolta testified previously that he had signed the form because he wanted to take his son to Florida for treatment rather than send him to a Bahamian hospital.

It is claimed that Mr Lightbourne intended to use the form clearing him of any liability to suggest that Mr Travolta was at fault.

Ms Bridgewater and ambulance driver Mr Lightbourne have pleaded not guilty to extortion charges at the trial, which began on 21 September.

Former senator Ms Bridgewater resigned her seat on the Bahamas senate after she was arrested in January.

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