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Video recorded by Travolta's attorney played at trial

  • Story Highlights
  • Two accused of trying to extort millions from actor after son Jett died in Bahamas
  • Travolta attorney Michael McDermott testifies he assisted police in a sting
  • Defense argues McDermott tried to "set up" their clients with secret recording
  • McDermott testifies video shows him meeting with one of the defendants
From John Couwels
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NASSAU, Bahamas (CNN) -- Videotapes secretly recorded by John Travolta's attorney were played Monday at the trial of two people accused of trying to extort millions of dollars from the actor after his son died in the Bahamas in January.

Two people in the Bahamas stand accused of trying to extort millions from actor John Travolta.

Two people in the Bahamas stand accused of trying to extort millions from actor John Travolta.

The videotapes showed what Travolta's attorney said were negotiations between himself and one of the defendants, with discussions centering on a document the suspects claimed could reflect unfavorably on Travolta's actions after his son was found unconscious.

Defendants Tarino Lightbourne, a paramedic, and former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater are on trial on charges they plotted to extort $25 million from Travolta after 16-year-old Jett Travolta died from a seizure.

Travolta attorney Michael McDermott testified Monday that he assisted police in a sting.

As the videotape was played Monday, McDermott described it as depicting a meeting in a hotel room between himself and Bridgewater, who said she represented Lightbourne. Bahamian police had placed wireless microphones on McDermott and hidden two cameras in the room, McDermott said.

Defense attorneys have attempted to convince the jury that Travolta's attorney came to the Bahamas to "set up" their clients. Murrio Ducille, who represents Bridgewater, on Friday said to Travolta's attorney, "you came to the island with evil in your heart."

Earlier in the trial, Travolta testified that his son was found unresponsive by a nanny at their home on Grand Bahama Island, where the family was spending their New Year's holiday. Travolta said he initially told the ambulance driver to rush them to an airport where his private jet was parked and where Travolta, who is a pilot, planned to fly his son to a West Palm Beach, Florida, hospital instead of driving him to one in nearby Freeport.

The paramedic, however, asked Travolta to sign a statement releasing the ambulance company from liability.

"I received a liability of release document. I signed it. I did not read it. Time was of the essence," Travolta testified last week. Travolta said that while he and his wife were riding in the ambulance with their son, they decided to divert to the hospital. At the hospital, the actor was told his son "wasn't alive," he said. Video Watch report from CNN's John Couwels in the Bahamas »

It is that release document that would-be extortionists hoped to use against Travolta, threatening to give it to the media if they were not paid, according to Travolta's attorneys.


Travolta testified last week that he learned of a demand for $25 million or "stories connected to that document would be sold to the press ... The stories would imply the death of my son was intentional and I was culpable somehow."

The trial is expected to last through next week. John Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, are not expect back in court.

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