Bahamas lawmaker prompts Travolta extortion mistrial



NASSAU - A local judge declared a mistrail in the 25-million-dollar John Travolta extortion case due to a leak of confidential information, an official said here.
Senior Supreme Court Justice Anita Allen issued the ruling late Wednesday, citing a public announcement by lawmaker Picewell Forbes that ex-senator Pleasant Bridgewater, who was on trial in the case, was a "free woman."



Forbes later apologized after learning that nobody had been acquitted, and that the jury had been just begun final deliberations when he made the announcement.
Travolta, a two-time Oscar-nominee who starred in the hit films "Saturday Night Fever" and "Pulp Fiction," earlier testified that Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne attempted to extort money from him following the death of his 16 year-old son Jett in January.
Allen said he dismissed the jury because Forbes' statement "leaves the impression that there may have been a communication in the jury room."
Travolta testified that the paramedic that attended Jett told him he would implicate the actor in the boy's death if he did not pay up.
The scheme intended to "make me culpable in some way," Travolta told the court earlier this month.
Jett Travolta died after suffering a seizure during a family vacation at the actor's residence at Old Bahama Bay, on Grand Bahama Island.
He was the 54-year-old Hollywood star's only son.
A new date has yet to be set for the retrial, but the defense is reportedly lobbying to transfer the case from the capital to Grand Bahama.
The lawmaker's party, the official opposition Progressive Liberal Party, said Picewell's action was "not intended to interfere with the administration of justice."
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Friday, October 23rd 2009
AFP
           


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