TRAVOLTA ESCAPES FRAUD TRIAL ORDEAL

Published on: April 20, 2011
Photography by: Getty
John Travolta

JOHN TRAVOLTA was dragged into the messy criminal case of a wealthy gay acquaintance - but he dodged a bullet when he avoided testimony in the high-profile prosecution.

Travolta was named as a potential defense witness in the fraud trial of super-rich corporate executive Lee Farkas, who reportedly owns a string of gay bars and is known as the "gay Bernie Madoff."

A rep for Travolta - who has long been rumored to have had gay affairs - says the actor has met Farkas only once.

But Farkas' legal team had listed Travolta as a potential character witness to help the tycoon avoid prison on charges that he stole $1.9 billion.

Farkas, 58 - the former CEO of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. - faced 14 counts of bank, wire and securities fraud in an Alexandria, Va., federal court.

Prosecutors alleged he masterminded a seven-year fraud scheme that bilked investors and the government for hundreds of millions of dollars.

The hard-partying Ocala, Fla., man, who lives near Travolta, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Closing arguments in the case began on April 18 without Travolta ever having to take the stand.

"Lee is openly gay and owns gay bars in the Atlanta area," said a source close to the executive. "He is known for throwing very lavish gay parties . . ."

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