John Travolta frantically tried to save his son by performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the actor told a Bahamian court on Wednesday in the trial of two people accused of attempting to extort $25 million from him.
Former senator Pleasant Bridgewater, 49, and former paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, 47, are accused of conspiring and attempting to extort money from Travolta by means of threats. Bridgewater is also accused of abetment to extortion.
Travolta, with actress wife Kelly Preston looking on, told the court how the couple raced downstairs at their Grand Bahama vacation home in a desperate bid to save 16 year-old Jett after being alerted to their son's plight when a nanny pounded on their bedroom door.
Jett Travolta died in January during the family's New Year's vacation in the Bahamas. His death certificate listed the cause as seizure disorder.
Lightbourne was a paramedic at the scene. Bridgewater's role has not been clarified publicly.
The Bahamas director of public prosecutions, Bernard Turner, told the court on Tuesday that following Jett's death, Travolta was threatened with the release of potentially damaging statements if money was not paid.
Travolta told the Bahamian Supreme Court that his son was autistic and suffered from a seizure disorder. He would suffer a seizure every five to 10 days, and Travolta said the seizures would last for 45 seconds to minutes.
The actor said that around 10:15 a.m. on January 2, while staying at the Old Bahama Bay Resort, he was awakened by Eli Wheaton, one of Jett's nannies, who was pounding on his bedroom door. The actor said he and his wife ran downstairs to help their son.
I saw him on the bathroom floor. Jeff Kathrein, his other nanny, and a woman from Old Bahama Bay were doing CPR, Travolta said. The actor said he took the place of the woman doing CPR.
Jeff Kathrein was doing compression and I was doing breathing, Travolta said.
The Travoltas had traveled to the Bahamas with Jett and their daughter, Ella, 8, on December 29, 2008, accompanied by four nannies.
The actor's testimony was halted after attorneys for Lightbourne and Bridgewater raised legal objections.
On Tuesday, the court was told by Inspector Andrew Wells of the Royal Bahamas Police Force that Travolta wanted his son taken to Freeport International Airport and flown to the United States instead of the nearest Bahamian hospital.
He added that Lightbourne asked him to witness a statement confirming that Travolta was waiving medical treatment for his son, releasing medical personnel from any liability.