Travolta Friend: Involvement In Extortion Plot 'Absurd'
A Bahamian lawmaker detained in an alleged extortion plot targeting actor John Travolta said he’d been charged with no crime and had only tried to warn the actor after his 16-year-old son died, Us Weekly reported.
Obie Wilchcombe said fellow Bahamas parliamentarian Pleasant Bridgewater told him “someone was doing something untowards” after Travolta’s chronically ill son Jett died of a seizure at the family’s Grand Bahama vacation home — a message he said he relayed to the actor’s lawyers.
“She (Bridgewater) knew I was close to the Travoltas. She wanted to bring something to my attention,” Wilchcombe told the New York-based magazine in an interview published Saturday.
He called it “ridiculous and absurd” to suggest he’d sought money from the movie star, saying one “single individual” had tried to take advantage of the family, according to the magazine.
The details of the alleged extortion plot have still not been made public.
A former Bahamian Tourism minister and self-described Travolta friend, Wilchcombe was with the actor shortly after his son died Jan. 2. He and Bridgewater were detained Thursday along with paramedic Tarino Lightbourne.
Wilchcombe was released from police custody, while Bridgewater was charged with abetment and conspiracy to extort and released on $40,000 bail. She resigned from her Bahamas Senate seat on Saturday vowing to fight those charges.
A woman who answered the phone at her Grand Bahama residence on Sunday said Bridgewater “wanted privacy” and did not wish to speak to reporters.
Wilchcombe could not be reached for comment.
Lightbourne is being held for attempted extortion but has not been charged, said Marvin Dames, a senior assistant commissioner of police. Tabloids previously quoted Lightbourne recounting his efforts to revive Jett on the way to the hospital.
Police said Travolta filed a complaint alleging attempted extortion, but gave no details. The actor and his wife Kelly Preston have taken their son’s ashes home to Florida.
In an undated statement posted on Travolta’s Web site, his family thanks Bahamian officials, funeral home workers and hospital staff for their support.
“The character, love and true friendship of the Bahamian people became immediately apparent during our time of crisis,” the statement read.
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