Explosive Evidence from the Travolta Extortion Trial
PEOPLE has obtained secretly-taped video of high-stakes negotiation in the Bahamas
Is it the smoking gun?
The trial of two defendants accused of trying to exort $25 million from John Travolta in return for handing over a document relating to the death of the star’s 16-year-old son, Jett, continues in the Bahamas today.
Meanwhile, PEOPLE has watched videotape of conversations recorded by the Royal Bahamas Police between Travolta’s attorney and the two defendants – paramedic Tarino Lightbourn and his lawyer, Pleasant Bridgewater, a former Bahamian senator – that appear to be an attempt to secure a multi-million payment from Travolta for the return of a form the star signed when considering whether to have his son be taken to an airport rather than to the nearest hospital.
PHOTOS: Jett’s Loving Family Life
“Where the hell did you get a number of 25 million bucks?” Travolta’s lawyer, Michael McDermott, indignantly asks Lightbourn, who was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of Jett’s death, about the exorbitant sum the paramedic allegedly demanded for handing over the document, known as Do Not Transport form.
Bahamian Robin Hood?
“I was poor all my life,” Lightbourn pleads, as Bridgewater apparently listens in on a speakerphone to the conversation caught on a hidden camera at a Bahamas hotel last January. “You know, me and my family, were struggling all our life. I wanted to do things for charity all of my life.”
“You’re a Bahamian Robin Hood, man!,” Travolta’s lawyer says with a laugh.
In the videotape viewed by a PEOPLE reporter, Lightbourn eventually agrees to a price of $15 million on the tape, then questions whether Travolta’s lawyer can be trusted – especially when McDermott suggests handing over the money in installments.
“I can’t do installments,” Lightbourn protests. “I want to get this behind me. I want to put this to rest. I don’t want to see you anymore … I’m thinking, how do I know if I go to the States one day the Feds don’t pick me up? How do I know if I go to the States one day, it’s not a hit on me?”
McDermott tries to reassure him: “I dont operate like that,” he says.
After working out a means of exchanging the money with a wire transfer, McDermott winds up the 44-minute meeting. “Once you confirm, I mean, within 10 minutes, I want those damn documents … I’ll have somebody waiting for you over at your law office or something in Freeport. You give him an envelope, okay, that’s got the original and the copy in it, and have a wonderful life.”
“Exactly,” Lightbourn agrees. “Case closed. Case closed … Once this is closed, its buried deeper than the Titanic.”
Just over a month after the alleged negotiation, Travolta met with Bahamian police to file a complaint that led to the current trial. Both Lightbourn and Bridgewater have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion. If convicted, they could face up to ten or more years in prison.
Travolta is not expected to testify again in the Nassau courtroom before the beginning of next week.