Travolta: Staff Told Me of Extortion Plot

Actor testifies he never dealt directly with defendants

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 9:15 AM PDT
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Travolta: Staff Told Me of Extortion Plot

AP

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston leave the court building in Nassau, Bahamas, last week.

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John Travolta learned of the alleged $25 million extortion plot against him through an employee shortly after his young son suffered a seizure, the actor said Wednesday as he took the stand in the trial of two Bahamas residents.

Travolta, who last testified Sept. 24 in the trial in Nassau, said Ronald Zupancic first told him there was an effort underway to blackmail him, and that prompted him to loop in his lawyer, Michael McDermott. It was McDermott who told the "Saturday Night Fever" star that the alleged extortionists were demanding $25 million in return for not releasing information they claimed would make Travolta look partially responsible for the death of son Jett, 16.

Jett Travolta died Jan. 2 after suffering a seizure in the hotel where his family was staying. Onetime Bahamian politician Pleasant Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne are accused of demanding the massive payment in return for not making public a waiver Travolta signed releasing medics from liability during the frenzied moments after the boy was stricken.

Travolta signed it because he initially didn't want Jett treated by locals, because, according to an earlier witness, he wanted to take Jett straight to the airport. Travolta reportedly believed his son could be flown to Florida nearly as quickly as he could be driven to a hospital, and that he would get better care in the U.S. Travolta changed his mind en route, and had Jett taken to a Bahamas hospital, where he died.

Get more: TMZ

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