John Travolta's friend denies plot
John Travolta's close friend Obie Wilchcombe has denied any involvement in the plot to extort money from the actor, following the death of his 16-year-old son Jett
John Travolta's close friend has denied any involvement in the plot to extort money from the actor.
The former Bahamian Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe was one of three people detained by police in connection with the alleged plot involving the Travolta family.
As well as protesting his innocence, Wilchcombe has also defended Grand Bahama's Senator Pleasant Bridgewater - who has been charged with extortion and released on $40,000 bail and has since resigned from her position.
Denying any involvement in the scam, Wilchcombe - who was released by police on Friday (23.01.09) - said: "Never once, asking for anything! Never once, expecting anything! This is ridiculous and absurd. The Travolta family is suffering, it's just outright foolish.
"Never did I ask for anything, no one can say that. We had a friend in my country who lost a son. It was one single individual who tried to take advantage of the family, the Bahamian people have been very kind to the Travoltas."
Wilchcombe claims Bridgewater contacted him last week to say "someone was doing something untowards", and he passed the information onto the Travolta family's lawyers.
He said: "She knew I was close to the Travoltas. She wanted to bring something to my attention."
He added this was the reason he has been questioned - alongside Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne - by police.
The plot is said to centre around John and his wife Kelly Preston's 16-year-old son Jett, who died following a seizure in the Bahamas.
No specific details of the blackmail plot have been revealed, though it is believed to involve a photograph of Jett which someone is attempting to make public.
The initial demand was reportedly for $25 million, and lawyers for the family are believed to have set up those asking for the money by pretending to negotiate.
The exact details of the plot have not been made public.
The family's attorneys Mike Ossi and Howard Butler released a statement, saying: "Regrettably, in a time of such terrible grief, there are often a few individuals who attempt to make false claims in hopes of making millions of dollars. We will never let that happen."