John Travolta Testifies in Extortion Case, Acknowledges Autism of Late Son

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John Travolta calmly described in Bahamian court today how he helped a nanny perform CPR on his 16-year-old son Jett, whose death in January was not only tragic, but sparked an alleged $25 million extortion plot against the actor.

"Jeff [Kathrein], the other nanny, was doing compressions. I was doing the breathing," said the actor, whose son was in the bedroom of the family condo.

Paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, one of the first people to arrive when Jett Travolta died after suffering a seizure, and his lawyer, former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, stand accused of conspiring to extort $25 million from Travolta.

In return for the money, the two allegedly would refrain from making public a document relating to Jett's treatment. The defendants pleaded not guilty.

The actor stood before the court during testimony, standard practice in the British legal system. At times he leaned foward on a podium when he spoke.

John Travolta testified that his son had a history of seizures and for the first time publicly said that his teenage son suffered from autism: "My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder every 5-10 days," Travolta said.

John Travolta Pic

John Travolta was forced to recall the worst day of his life under oath.

Police say that Jett was placed in an ambulance, while Lightbourn said John Travolta wanted his son taken directly to the airport instead of to a hospital.

A police investigator then testified that Travolta signed a form that released the paramedics from liability for not transporting the patient to a hospital.

At some point that morning, a decision was made to take Jett to the hospital.

Nonetheless, prosecutors allege that Lightbourn and Bridgewater threatened to release private information unless Travolta paid them $25 million.

In testimony, the two-time Oscar nominee recalled that Jett "would suffer a seizure that would last 45 seconds to a minute and sleep for 12 hours."

On the morning of his son's death, January 2, John Travolta said he was awakened and ran downstairs to find people already trying to save his son.

John arrived hand-in-hand with his wife Kelly Preston in the courtroom Wednesday, soft-spoken and calm during his testimony. Both were described as "graceful" by a courtroom observer, who added that the couple did not tear up.