Accused blackmailers allegedly burned a copy of the document at the center of the trial

By Siobhan Morrissey
September 28, 2009 09:10 AM
SDFL/Splash News Online

On Jan. 19, Pleasant Bridgewater, who had been a Bahamian senator and well-respected member of the Progressive Liberal Party at the time, met with John Travolta’s attorney to iron out payment for a document regarding medical treatment for the actor’s son on the day he died.

Three days later, Bridgewater was under arrest for extortion and, according to a police report, admitted to the Bahamian authorities that she had destroyed a copy of the document in question – a “Refusal of Treatment/Transportation” form her client, paramedic Tarino Lightbourn, had insisted Travolta sign when he sought to have his son taken to an airstrip rather than a hospital on Jan. 2.

PHOTOS: Jett Travolta: His Loving Family Life
What happened to the original – a key piece of evidence in the case of the two people who allegedly attempted to extort $25 million from Travolta shortly after his son’s death – is the latest revelation in the case unearthed exclusively by PEOPLE. The trial is now underway in the Bahamas. Travolta himself has already testified in court, recounting how he raced to save Jett, 16, last January.

Police Find the Candle

The nature of the document became so incendiary to Bridgewater that she allegedly set a match to her copy. According to a report written by Sgt. Deborah Thompson of the Central Detective Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the police searched Bridgewater’s law office in Freeport on Jan. 22, looking for the refusal form, but Bridgewater told them “she had already destroyed it,” Thompson wrote in a Jan. 30 report. When asked what she had done with it, the report added, “she replied that she only had a copy, but after she noticed that the incident was about to explode, she used a candle at her home and lit the document on fire and flush(ed) the ashes in the toilet bowl at her residence.”

The police later found the candle she used while searching her home.

“Whilst at her residence, she directed officers to a white candle in a glass, which when examined had what appeared to be ashes in it,” Thompson added in her report.

Lightbourn was caught on a secretly recorded video stating he had the original document. On Jan. 20, Travolta’s attorney, Michael McDermott, allowed police to secretly videotape his negotiations with the paramedic over payment for the document. McDermott had also secretly recorded his meeting with Bridgewater on Jan. 19.

Police were later unsuccessful in retrieving the original document, and Lightbourn says he doesn’t know where it is.