The trial of an ambulance driver and a former Bahamian senator accused of attempting to extort $25 million from actor John Travolta, after the death of his 16-year-old son Jett, was declared a mistrial Wednesday.
Judge Anita Allen said she decided to nix the month-long trial after learning of a juror’s inappropriate communications outside the juror room.
At a rally Wednesday night for the Bahamas’ Progressive Liberal Party, a crowd member announced that one of the accused extortionists, (party member) Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, was “free at last,” tipping the judge to potential information leaks.
“About two hours ago, there was an announcement at a particular political party,” Allen said. “It leaves the impression that there may have been a communication in the jury room. I am going to discharge you from returning your verdict.”
Travolta said he was “upset,” but will “continue to cooperate fully with police.”
The actor filed an extortion complaint shortly after his son Jett died at the age of 16 on Jan. 2 from a seizure at the family’s vacation home on Grand Bahama island. Prosecutors said the accused pair, Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, tried to get money from the Saturday Night Fever icon for the purpose of burying a document relating of the treatment of the film’s star’s ailing boy.
Travolta testified that the accused extortionists told him if he didn’t come up with the money, “stories connected to that document would be sold to the press — the stories would imply the death of my son was intentional and I was culpable somehow.”