Page last updated at 08:51 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 09:51 UK

Retrial for Travolta Bahamas case

John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston attended the original trial

A mistrial has been declared in the Bahamas in the case of two people accused of blackmailing Hollywood actor John Travolta over his son's death.

Pleasant Bridgewater and Tarino Lightbourne are accused of trying to extort $25m (£15m) from the star.

A retrial was ordered late on Wednesday after an MP declared publicly that Ms Bridgewater had been cleared while the jury was still deliberating.

The judge said she was concerned that there could have been jury misconduct.

Possible misconduct

Picewell Forbes, an MP for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), made the announcement at his party's annual convention - which was being covered live on television and radio.

Supreme Court Justice Anita Allen said she was reluctant to order a new trial but had to do so "in the interest of justice".

She said she was concerned about possible "communication" from the jury room - raising the possibility of jury misconduct.

Alex Storr, a PLP official, said Mr Forbes had misspoken and apologised on behalf of the party, AP news agency reported.

Travolta's son Jett died in the Bahamas aged 16 in January following a seizure.

The actor testified in the original trial against the pair.

His attorney, Michael Ossi, said his client would fully co-operate with the prosecution and do whatever was asked of him.

Ms Bridgewater, a former member of the Bahamian Senate, is accused of trying to negotiate a $25m (£15m) payout for Mr Lightbourne, a paramedic.

It is claimed he threatened to sell stories suggesting Travolta was at fault over Jett's death.

A form signed by Travolta after his son's death would have released the ambulance driver of liability had Jett been flown to the US from the Bahamas for treatment, as the actor had initially wanted.

However, the 16-year-old ended up being taken to a local hospital where he died.

Both Ms Bridgewater and Mr Lightbourne denied the original charges.



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SEE ALSO
Senator denies Travolta blackmail
15 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Accused 'burnt Travolta document'
09 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Travolta jury hears secret tapes
06 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Travolta tells court about threat
01 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Travolta recalls day his son died
24 Sep 09 |  Entertainment


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