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Charges dropped in John Travolta extortion case

Actor said a second trial focusing on the death of his son would be too difficult for his family.

Travolta pictured with his wife Kelly Preston last March.
Travolta pictured with his wife Kelly Preston last March.
Image: Chris Pizzello/AP/Press Association Images

EXTORTION CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST two people who allegedly tried to extort money from John Travolta after his teenage son’s death have been dropped by a judge in the Bahamas.

A retrial of ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne and his attorney Pleasant Bridgewater was about to get underway, when Travolta said he no longer wanted to testify.

In a statement published by People magazine, the actor cited emotional reasons for his decision not to participate in the trial:

“Almost a year later, the long pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family, causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us.”

Travolta’s son Jett, 16, died at the family’s holiday home in Grand Bahama in January 2009 after suffering a serious seizure and collapsing.

Lighbourne, one of the medics who treated the teen, allegedly threatened to tell the press that John Travolta was at fault in his son’s death unless he and Bridgewater were paid $25m.

A mistrial was declared during the original trial last October after rumours the jury had acquitted one of the suspects before it had actually completed its deliberations.

John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, who have a 10-year-old daughter, are currently expecting their third child.

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