Retrial Ordered in Travolta's Extortion Case

Wednesday Bahamian court declared a retrial in the John Travolta extortion case.

Former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, the defendants in the trial, pleaded innocent to charges they told the U.S. movie star's representatives they would leak a sensitive document to the media if he did not pay them $25 million.

The document pertained to the transportation of the Travolta's autistic 16-year-old son, Jett, who ultimately died after suffering a seizure at the family's vacation home, United Press International reports.

Meanwhile, Picewell Forbes, an MP for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), made the announcement at his party's annual convention - which was being covered live on television and radio.

Supreme Court Justice Anita Allen said she was reluctant to order a new trial but had to do so "in the interest of justice".

She said she was concerned about possible "communication" from the jury room - raising the possibility of jury misconduct.

Alex Storr, a PLP official, said Mr Forbes had misspoken and apologised on behalf of the party, BBC News reports.

People Magazine quoted Mike Ossi, one of Travolta’s Florida lawyers, as saying, "This came out of the clear blue; this was so weird."

Ossi, an entertainment lawyer who was also a prosecution witness, says the first hint of trouble came when a police officer heard on TV that one of the defendants – a onetime Bahamian senator named Pleasant Bridgewater – had been acquitted.

"The police officer said, 'It looks like Pleasant got off," Ossi said.

News of Bridgewater’s so-called acquittal was on TV two hours before the foreman told the judge the nine-member jury was having difficulty reaching a verdict, Ossis said, People Magazine reports.

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