Mistrial Shocker in Travolta Extortion Case - NBC Chicago

Mistrial Shocker in Travolta Extortion Case

Actor is "upset" that month-long trial over son's death ends in do-over



    Mistrial Shocker in Travolta Extortion Case
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    John Travolta's extortion case has fallen apart after a month of testimony from the actor and others.

    A judge in the trial of two people accused of trying to extort $25 million from actor John Travolta declared a mistrial after she feared the verdict in the case had been leaked.

    Supreme Court Justice Anita Allen declared a mistrial because it was believed that unauthorized "communication" was leaked to jurors following a Bahamian politician's premature announcement that one of the individuals had been acquitted.

    Travolta said he was "upset" by the mistrial after the month-long trial in which former Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne were accused of trying to extort millions from the actor following the death of his 16-year-old son, Jett, last January.

    The actor said he would "continue to cooperate fully with the police."

    Miami Police Department

    Jurors had been deliberating for hours when Bahamian lawmaker Picewell Forbes told an audience at a Progressive Liberal Party convention that Bridgewater was "a free woman." 

    Eight hours into deliberations, Allen checked in with the jury to see if they needed more time. They said yes and they continued to weigh the options. Ten minutes later, the judge returned and declared a mistrial.

    "We are concerned in the interest of justice that there has been a communication from the jury room," she said.

    "The dilemma that we face is great," Allen told the court. "I am erring on the side of caution. Justice must be transparent."

    She did not set a new trial date.

    Lightbourne, the ambulance driver, and Bridgewater, an ex-politician, were accused of threatening to release private information about the death of Travolta's teen son after his shocking death at the family's Grand Bahama vacation home last winter.

    The ambulance driver was among those who helped treat Jett and allegedly looped in Bridgewater, who was also his attorney, to help extort $25 million from Travolta. Bridgewater resigned from her Bahamas Senate after she was charged.

    Jett who suffered a deadly seizure on the island on Jan. 2.