Nassau, Bahamas — Lead Crown Prosecutor Bernard Turner wrapped up Monday by stating that former Bahamian senator Pleasant Bridgewater “knew what she was doing was wrong”. He said that when ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne (who stands accused with her of attempting to extort $25 million for Hollywood heavyweight John Travolta) told her that he could have her or a jungalist attorney to help him negotiate, she could have let him go and had nothing to do with the case.
Turner reminded the court that Bridgewater is charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, attempted extortion and abetment of extortion.
He pointed out that no one has the right to sell a government document and pulled out the Bahamas Bar Code of Ethics Rule III in advising clients. He read: “the attorney must be both candid and honest when advising his client, acting in the discharge of his responsibilities with the utmost good faith”.
He specifically pointed to section six which reads: “When advising his client the attorney must never knowingly assist or encourage any dishonesty, fraud, crime or illegal conduct or instruct his client as to how to violate the law and avoid punishment. He should be on his guard against becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous client or those who are associated with that client.”
He said that in Bridgewater’s unsworn statement, she said told Lightbourne that if went back to those people (the Travoltas), “I’ll be prepared to take you to the police myself”. He questioned why the document that was allegedly burned kept at Bridgewater’s not her office and if indeed it was burned, why would she destroy her client’s legal transaction.
“It’s clear that Ms. Bridgewater knew exactly what was going on,” said Turner. “She knew what this was about. This shows that she knew what she was doing was wrong. This shows that she knew this was an act of extortion.”
He said that in acting with the Bar Code, she could have let Lightbourne go when he threatened to resort to other counsel.
“Let him go to a jungalist lawyer,” said Turner. “Let him go to a ghetto lawyer. Let him go to an international lawyer. It could have ended right there.”
But as we all know, it didn’t end there. Turner even noted that da Bahamian Robin Hood aka Lightbourne tried to save himself with “slander” during his unsworn statement. “So many people’s reputation have been damaged…” said Turner. He said that Lightbourne slandered the Minister of Health, health officials in Grand Bahama, EMT Derrix Rolle, union reps in Freeport and Grand Bahama and even John Travolta himself. And yes… Turner even hit on how Lightbourne has seen the Light with his religious epiphany he ranted on during his unsworn statement.
“The dying thief received forgiveness but was not taken off the cross,” said Turner, which made many wonder if he was referring to the fact that even though the thief was pardoned by God he still had to serve his sentence with the law of the land.
Meanwhile, the afternoon belonged to Attorney Murrio ‘Real Deal’ Ducille who is putting in one final plea for Pleasant by calling out Obie ‘DA SNITCH’ Wilchcombe as the real conspirator in the whole case. Ducille insisted that the transcript based on the now infamous PBTL tapes was staged.
“We are not here dealing with movies and Hollywood,” he told jurors. “This case is not dealing with FNM or PLP. We are dealing with two Bahamians being tried for serious offenses. The charge is attempted extortion. My submission is there is no evidence of extortion in this case… my submission is this case is all about a distraction… An incident took place in Grand Bahama on January 2 for which people from the media were pounding on Tarino Lightbourne and then Michael McDermott (Travolta’s attorney) came to shift the focus.” He said that the more the spotlight is put on them (Bridgewater and Lightbourne) the more where it should be is diminished. “John Travolta, of whom there was not much focus, who is supposed to be the substratum of the prosecution has not exposed much.”
“Obviously, John Travolta has been seriously misled,” he added, noting that the actor was correct in stating that he could not vouch for what members in his circle told him because he never spoke to Bridgewater and he stated from the stand that he did not know her. “He said that she did not issue threats to him and that he acted based on what he was told by Mr. McDermott and Mr. (Ronald) Zupancic.”
“Obie Wilchombe is the initiator in this whole thing,” Ducille noted. “This (Da Snitch) is the triggering mechanism of all of this, McDermott being the bullet… There no evidence that she (Bridgewater) sought to sell something to the press…I am still waiting to hear what criminal offense she committed.”