John Travolta Drops Extortion Case Charges

John Travolta Drops Extortion Case Charges
John Travolta and Kelly Preston
Greg Gorman/Icon International

09/06/2010 AT 03:00 PM EDT

A Bahamian court on Monday dismissed charges against a former paramedic and his attorney accused of trying to extort $25 million from John Travolta in the wake of his son's death last year.

The Pulp Fiction actor and his family asked that the charges be dropped because he had "concluded that it was in my family's best interest for me not to voluntarily return to the Bahamas to testify a second time at trial," Travolta said in a prepared statement. "Almost a year later, the long pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family, causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us."



Former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and her client, Tarino Lightbourn, were charged with extortion when they allegedly threatened to go to the media if Travolta refused to pay $25 million for a "Refusal to Transport" document that Travolta had signed the day his son Jett died at their vacation home in Freeport. Jett, 16, who had autism, died Jan. 2, 2009 after suffering a seizure. The case against Bridgewater and Lighbourn ended in a mistrial last year.



The former paramedic would not comment on specifics about the case, but maintains he has good will toward the actor. "I'm a Travolta fan," he says. "I will always be a Travolta fan. My favorite movie is Grease."

Travolta and Kelly Preston, who is expecting a baby, were all smiles over the weekend during a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

Here's Travolta's statement in full:
"I am grateful and appreciative of the dedication, hard work and support provided by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Royal Bahamas Police Force while handling matters associated with the attempted extortion that targeted my family in January of 2009. Throughout the investigation and prosecution, my staff and I remained fully supportive of all requests for assistance from law enforcement representatives even though this cooperation was at a great emotional cost to my family. Unfortunately, in early October of last year the first trial of this matter resulted in a mistrial. Almost a year later, the long pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us. Therefore, after much reflection I concluded that it was in my family’s best interest for me not to voluntarily return to The Bahamas to testify a second time at trial. We are thankful to the people of The Bahamas for the friendship, love and support they provided to us during this matter."



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