Paramedic Charged in Alleged Travolta Extortion Plot
NASSAU, Bahamas – A Bahamas paramedic was charged Monday in an alleged scheme to extort $25 million from John Travolta after his chronically ill son died of a seizure at the family's vacation home.
Tarino Lightbourne, 47, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to extort and conspiracy to extort from the movie star.
Details of the alleged plot remain fuzzy, but prosecutor Bernard Turner said investigators are looking for a "certain document" and police say it involved $25 million. Magistrate Carolita Bethel remanded the suspect to jail after Turner objected to bail.
Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Marvin Dames said the actor's lawyers filed a complaint of attempted extortion after Pleasant Bridgewater, an attorney and then-senator, allegedly informed them that Lightbourne claimed he "was in possession of a document that, if released, would prove damaging to the Travoltas."
Lightbourne was detained after police issued an alert that he was wanted for attempted extortion and was considered dangerous.
Earlier, several tabloids had quoted Lightbourne describing efforts to revive 16-year-old Jett Travolta after he collapsed Jan. 2 on Grand Bahama.
Bridgewater was arrested on Thursday and charged with abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort, and was released on $40,000 bail.
She has vowed to prove her innocence but resigned Saturday from her seat in the legislature.
Another parliamentarian, Obie Wilchcombe, was detained Friday, questioned and released pending further investigation. He has not been charged.
"We don't have anything at this stage of our investigation to implicate him," Dames said Monday.
Wilchcombe has described himself as a friend of Travolta who was with the actor shortly after his son died. He said Bridgewater told him "someone was doing something untoward" after the boy's death — a message he said he relayed to the actor's lawyers.
"She (Bridgewater) knew I was close to the Travoltas. She wanted to bring something to my attention," Wilchcombe told Us magazine in an interview published Saturday.
He called it "absurd" to suggest he'd sought money from the movie star, saying one "single individual" had tried to take advantage of the family.
The actor and his wife, Kelly Preston, returned home to Florida with the ashes of their son shortly after his death.