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    Travolta Extortion Trial Kicks Off...Finally

    John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jett Travolta Courtesy of Travolta Family

    With the recent spate of celebrity deaths, it's easy to forget one of the first and most heart-wrenching of 2009: John Travolta and Kelly Preston losing their 16-year-old son, Jett.

    But the Bahamian New Providence Supreme Court has remembered: A nine-person jury was selected today in the alleged $25 million extortion plot against the Travolta family.

    Former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne will stand trial in proceedings expected to last three weeks.

    Travolta may also be making a cameo appearance, perhaps as soon as this week—his name is at the top of the 14-person list of potential witnesses. Testimony is expected to begin Tuesday.

    Bridgewater and Lightbourne have both pleaded not guilty to respective extortion counts. They could also have been rung up on charges of being dumb...

    The duo allegedly threatened to release a refusal-to-transport document, typically signed when emergency medical services are refused, thus clearing the responders of liability. However, the Travoltas never signed such a document to begin with, making the alleged attempt at extortion all the weaker.

    Not to mention deplorable.

    Aside from jury selection, the court also dispensed with some long-pending business, namely a motion filed by Lightbourne's legal team requesting disclosure of material evidence—the autopsy report, phone records, a witness statement by the nanny, etc.—by the prosecution.

    Lightbourne's attorneys say they've met with resistance from the attorney general since requesting access to the materials last month. A separate hearing on the matter has been set for Wednesday.

    Jett died suddenly on Jan. 2 after suffering a seizure, and his mourning family has kept a low profile ever since.

    Over the summer, Preston filmed The Last Song alongside Miley Cyrus but recently backed out of an appearance that would have called on her to speak publicly of her son's death. Travolta, too, quietly bowed out of promotional duties for his summer hit, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. In fact, it was only two weeks ago that the family members made their first public appearance at Disney's D23 Expo to promote Old Dogs, in which the actors and their daughter, Ella Bleu, all star.

    It's not known when Travolta is expected to touch down in the Bahamas or whether he's already arrived.

    ________

    Take a look back at the life of Jett Travolta.

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