A Bahamas lawmaker apologized publicly Tuesday for remarks that caused a mistrial in the John Travolta extortion case, but he did not reveal who told him that a defendant had been acquitted before a verdict was announced.
Picewell Forbes said his televised assertion that the still-deliberating jury had cleared one of the two defendants, a former Bahamas senator from his party, was "not true."
"My statements were reckless and interfered with the course of justice in that case and were further capable of bringing disrepute to the whole administration of justice," Forbes said during a brief news conference inside the parliament building.
Forbes apologized to the judge and the people of this island chain off the Florida coast. He did not take questions and his attorney, Anthony McKinney, said they cannot comment further because the matter is still before the court.
Senior Justice Anita Allen, who presided over the monthlong trial, has said she is considering a contempt of court charge against Forbes. Allen said she had no choice but to dismiss the jury because his remarks on the night of Oct. 21 gave the appearance of a leak from the jury room.
Forbes is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. McKinney has said Forbes was merely repeating a rumor and there is nothing to suggest there was any contact between the jury and leaders of his client's Progressive Liberal Party.
The former Bahamas senator, Pleasant Bridgewater, is accused of participating in a plot to extort $25 million from the movie star following his son's January death at a family vacation home. Bridgewater, who is also an attorney, allegedly negotiated on behalf of a paramedic, Tarino Lightbourne, who had private information about the death of 16-year-old Jett Travolta.
Bridgewater and Lightbourne both pleaded not guilty to extortion. A new trial is expected to be scheduled for next year.