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    Charges Filed in Alleged Travolta Extortion Plot; Family Friend Claims Innocence

    John Travolta, Kelly Preston Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

    A Bahamas lawmaker resigned Saturday morning after being charged in an alleged plot to extort $25 million from a grieving John Travolta.

    Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater was one of three suspects detained in the alleged extortion attempt. She was formally charged Friday afternoon with abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort, and then released on $40,000 bail.

    Bridgewater says she is innocent but decided to resign to focus on fighting the charges.

    Ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, meanwhile, remains in custody and, per a police statement, is cooperating with the investigation. He is being held on suspicion of attempted extortion but has not been charged.

    Travolta family friend and current member of parliament Obie Wilchcombe was released on his own recognizance pending further investigation. He says it was "outright foolish" that he's suspected of any wrongdoing.

    "I did a noble thing," Wilchcombe said upon his release, telling Us Weekly that Bridgewater approached him to inform him that something "untowards" against the Travolta family was in the works, and then he relayed the message to the Travoltas' lawyers.

    "She knew I was close to the Travoltas," said Wilchcombe, who acted as an unofficial spokesman for Travolta and wife Kelly Preston in the wake of their 16-year-old son's death. "She wanted to bring something to my attention."

    That's what investigators wanted to talk to him about, he said.

    Police have refused to elaborate on the nature of alleged scheme.

    (Originally published January 23, 2008, at 7:39 p.m.)

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