Lawyer: 'Paramedic's Proposal To Travolta Was A Business Deal'
The paramedic accused of attempting to extort money from a grieving JOHN TRAVOLTA has likened his actions to a simple business transaction.
Ambulance worker Tarino Lightbourne and former Bahamas senator Pleasant Bridgewater are facing charges of conspiracy to extort $25 million (£17.2 million) from the Hollywood actor after his 16-year-old son Jett suffered a fatal seizure in the resort in January (09).
The pair reportedly threatened to release a Refusal of Treatment/Transportation form, which Travolta signed after requesting paramedics drive his son to the airport. He initially believed it would be faster to fly the 16 year old to a hospital in Florida for treatment, but subsequently changed his mind.
The accused, who have both pleaded not guilty, supposedly planned to leak the document to the press, suggesting Travolta's actions delayed treatment for his son.
During closing arguments in a Nassau courtroom on Tuesday (20Oct09), Lightbourne's lawyer Carlson Shurland maintained his client had been "cornered" by Travolta's legal team, who feigned interest in buying the document at the centre of the trial, claiming the paramedic was the real "victim" in the case.
Shurland failed to deny Lightbourne had attempted to sell the form, instead insisting he was only trying to complete a business deal.
He told the jury, "Tarino had something to sell and everybody wanted to buy. If you had something to sell and they were willing to pay, you'd be a fool not to sell it. That's what a free society is all about."
Bridgewater's attorney Murrio Ducille urged the jurors to "set my people free", painting Travolta's lawyer Michael MCDermott as a "devious and cunning" man who sought to set the defendants up and had "evil in his heart".
Ducille added, "This was a joke to Mr. MCDermott. He came to the Bahamas with the sole intent of setting up these persons."
The nine-member jury is thought to begin deliberations on Wednesday (21Oct09) and a verdict is expected within days.