Juror misconduct is at the heart of the ruling by a Bahamian judge to declare a mistrial in the John Travolta extortion case. The ruling came after the judge discovered local politician had announced one of the defendants had been acquitted – before the verdict was read.
Former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and accused accomplice Tarino Lightbourne were on trial for allegedly attempting to blackmail Jon Travolta and wife Kelly Preston. The two allegedly attempted to force Travolta to pay them money to keep quiet about details related to the death of the couple’s son, Jett Travolta.
Closing arguments in the Travolta extortion case ended this morning and jurors were sent out to determine a verdict. Before the jurors could reach a decision, Senior Justice Anita Allen declared a mistrial in the case. Apparently, a local politician announced in a radio and TV speech that defendant Pleasant Bridgewater was “a free woman.” The announcement came before the jury had reached a verdict, prompting the judge in the case to suspect a juror had leaked information to the politician.
“The dilemma that we face is great,” Allen told the court. “I am erring on the side of caution. Justice must be transparent.”
A date has not yet been set for the retrial, but John Travolta plans to continue his campaign against his alleged blackmailers. â€œMr. Travolta has and will continue to cooperate with the Bahamian authorities in the prosecution of the defendants for extortion,” a rep for the actor said in a press statement.
>> Previously: John Travolta Tried to Save Son Jett Travolta