A Bahamian judge has declared a mistrial in the case of two men accused of trying to extort $25 million from John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston after a local politician gave a speech revealing one of the defendants had been acquitted when, in fact, the jury were still deliberating.
Senior Justice Anita Allen ordered a mistrial because the politician’s statement was broadcast on TV and radio, creating the impression that the leak came from the jury.
“The dilemma that we face is great,” Allen told the court on Oct. 21. “I am erring on the side of caution. Justice must be transparent.”
Pleasant Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne pleaded not guilty to allegedly blackmailing John and Kelly, 47, for their silence over the details related to their son Jett‘s death on Jan. 2.
The jury had deliberated for nine hours after a month of listening to testimony from witnesses including the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 star himself.
John’s attorney Michael Ossi said his client will fully cooperate with future proceedings and testify again if need be.
“We are committed to seeing this through, and we are committed to seeing justice served,” Ossi said. “And whatever the prosecution asks us to do is exactly what we will do.”
John, 55, made an emotional appearance in court as he recalled finding 16-year-old Jett unconscious at their hotel in the Bahamas after suffering a seizure.
A Progressive Liberal Party spokesman has issued an apology on behalf of Picewill Forbes — who said Bridgewater was “a free woman” — saying that Forbes misspoke.
The alleged plot centers around a waiver that John signed, which let emergency services off the hook if the family refused an ambulance ride to the hospital for Jett.
John said he signed the document initially because he wanted his son, who was autistic, flown directly to Florida for treatment but he later changed his mind.
He said Lightbourne threatened to sell stories to the media suggesting he was at fault in his son’s death.