A paramedic allegedly sought $25 million for a medical document said to be irrelevant to the death of the actor's son

By Siobhan Morrissey
Updated January 27, 2009 07:40 PM
Splash News Online

A paramedic allegedly tried to extort $25 million from John Travolta with a nearly worthless weapon: a medical document that was irrelevant to the death of the actor’s son, authorities in the Bahamas say.

Tarino Lightbourn, an Emergency Services Tech II with the Rand Memorial Hospital ambulance squad in Freeport, has been in custody since his arrest on Jan. 23. He is charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion.

He pleaded not guilty on Monday and is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Carolita Bethel in Nassau on Wednesday. His attorney, who is charged with two counts of extortion, is also scheduled to appear before the magistrate.

The case revolves around Lightbourn’s efforts to allegedly sell a one-page “refusal to transport” document that Travolta signed when Lightbourn was treating the actor’s 16-year-old son, Jett, according to the Bahamian police.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames downplayed the importance of the document.

‘Did Everything to Save Son’

“The document did not apply in the Travolta case,” Dames tells PEOPLE. “It did not apply because he was very ill, and so, the only alternative would be to take him to the hospital. Refusal to transport documents are for cases involving minor injuries. If your injuries are minor and you don’t want to be transported, the ambulance driver would produce that form. It waives responsibility on the part of the hospital.”

Dames insists the Travoltas did everything possible to save their son. (TMZ.com reports that Travolta considered flying his back to Florida for care before opting for a Bahamian hospital 45 minutes away from the family’s vacation villa.)

“We were satisfied from all our investigations that the Travolta family and those who rendered aid to Jett did all that was humanly possible to revive Jett,” Dames says. “All did what they were able to resuscitate him.”

“There’s no evidence to support that there was any effort to avoid medical treatment,” he adds. “Lightbourn said that himself in several interviews.”

Missing Document

According to Dames, the alleged case of attempted extortion took place nearly two weeks ago when Lightbourn’s attorney, former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, called an attorney for Travolta in the United States and said her client wanted to sell the document. Travolta then complained to the Royal Bahamian Police through his attorney.

“The complaint states the request was for $25 million,” Dames says. “At the time, she represented the young man. She would have made the request.”

When asked if Travolta might be called as a witness, should the case proceed to trial, Dames simply said, “He lodged a complaint. He’s the complainant on record.”

For now, the police are having difficulty determining the authenticity of the document Lightbourn allegedly tried to sell to Travolta.

“We don’t know where the original is,” the senior assistant commissioner says. “We don’t know if he generated the document.”

But Lightbourn is the crux of their case, he says.

“He’s the key person here,” Dames says. “He’s the one who made the attempt.”