Entertainment & Arts

Travolta extortion case dismissed

John Travolta
Image caption The case has caused the Travolta family "unbelievable" stress

Charges against two people accused of trying to extort money from actor John Travolta, following the death of his son in the Bahamas, have been dropped.

The case was dismissed after a motion was submitted at the request of the Pulp Fiction star and his family.

Pleasant Bridgewater and Tarino Lightbourne were accused of trying to extort $25m (£16m) from the actor following his son's death last year.

Jett Travolta, 16, died in the Bahamas in January 2009 following a seizure.

Ms Bridgewater and Mr Lightbourne's first trial was declared a mistrial last October and a retrial was set to begin shortly.

On Monday, however, prosecutor Neil Braithwaite said the Travoltas wished "to put this whole thing behind them".

"The Travolta family has said that this matter has caused them unbelievable stress and pain," he said.

Mr Lightbourne - a paramedic - and his attorney Ms Bridgewater were accused of threatening to release private information about Jett Travolta's death at the family vacation home in Grand Bahama.

It was alleged that Mr Lightbourne threatened to sell stories suggesting Mr Travolta was at fault over Jett's death.

Ms Bridgewater, a former member of the Bahamian Senate, was accused of trying to negotiate a $25m (£16m) payout for Mr Lightbourne.

A judge declared a mistrial in October after a Bahamian MP suggested the still-deliberating jury had acquitted one of the suspects.

In a statement to the Associated Press agency, John Travolta said "the long-pending status of this matter" had taken "a heavy emotional toll" on his family.

"After much reflection, I concluded it was in my family's best interest for me not to voluntarily return to the Bahamas to testify a second time at trial."

Both Ms Bridgewater and Mr Lightbourne denied the original charges.

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