Jett's Ambulance Ride at Center of Alleged Travolta Extortion Plot

Police say document at center of case is a "refusal to transport" form, signed when refusing medical services

By Natalie Finn Jan 28, 2009 3:33 AMTags
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The details are still fuzzy as to just how two suspects allegedly planned to extort $25 million from John Travolta in the wake of his son's death. But the evidence is there, according to police.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames tells the Bahamas' Nassau Guardian that a document believed to be at the center of the case is a "refusal to transport" form, which is signed by a party "when refusing, for example, emergency medical services from trained personnel" in cases of minor injury and releases the paramedics from liability.

"In this context, a document like that does not apply because as we know young Jett...did not have any minor injuries," Dames said. "He was very ill. And so the document does not come into play."

"What they were trying to achieve" is the issue at hand, Dames added.

TMZ.com has sources saying, however, that Travolta and Kelly Preston authorized the ambulance transport of their 16-year-old son, Jett, who died suddenly Jan. 2 after suffering a seizure at the Grand Bahama villa where his family was vacationing.

The question Travolta and Preston had was about where—and not whether—their son should be treated, the sources said. Travolta apparently wanted to fly Jett back to Florida initially, rather than have paramedics take him to the hospital, which was 45 minutes away.

Ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, one of two people charged in the purported scheme, has been kept in custody pending a bail hearing Wednesday because authorities feared that said document could end up disappearing if he was released.

"We say, in respect of this matter, a part of the evidence has not been recovered," prosecutor Bernard Turner told the Guardian. "That document, we say, is in the possession of the defendant, and if released the document would not be able to be recovered."

Lightbourne has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy to extort.

Former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, who resigned Saturday in the wake of the allegations, was freed last week on $40,000 bail after being charged with abetment and conspiracy to extort. She is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

"How these innocent actions can be so misconstrued, so perversely twisted to mean something other than it was, is a mystery," Bridgewater declared in a written statement. "I assure the Bahamian people of my complete and total innocence and I am satisfied that when the full story comes out that I shall be fully vindicated."

(Originally published Jan. 27, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. PT)