A former companion of Sumner Redstone has renewed her request that an independent mental health expert be appointed to evaluate the 95-year-old media mogul, but lawyers for the billionaire state in their court papers that eight such motions in three years are enough and that this latest request should be denied.
Manuela Herzer maintains in her court papers that the billionaire lacks the mental capacity to participate and assist his lawyers in litigating a Los Angeles Superior Court petition he filed. In the petition, Redstone seeks a judge’s validation of his modification of his trust that deprived Herzer of about $70 million in cash and real estate that she alleges he promised her. Trial of the petition is scheduled in January.
“The capacity of Redstone to have and direct counsel and to verify pleadings filed in his name, his own verification of the petition, is in question,” according to Herzer’s court papers. “The results of this (independent examination) will be important and are critical to adjudicating the claims and defenses.”
Redstone’s lawyers have not made him available for a deposition and have said he will not testify, according to Herzer’s court papers.
Herzer maintains Redstone’s daughter, Shari, is behind the litigation. In her previous court papers, Herzer cited the findings of Dr. David W. Trader, who stated that on Sept. 6, he watched footage that Redstone’s late friend Arnold Kopelson shot with an iPhone at Redstone’s Beverly Park mansion on Jan. 28. Trader said it is “extremely unlikely” that Redstone has the mental capacity to hire, direct and maintain his lawyers or direct the litigation.
“Redstone does not get special treatment where he gets to prosecute a case against Herzer and not have his capacity reviewed in the face of the Trader declaration and the Kopelson video,” Herzer’s court papers state.
Kopelson died Oct. 8 at his Beverly Hills home at age 83.
But Redstone’s lawyers state in their court papers that Herzer’s motion “intrudes upon a quintessential zone of human privacy” and that it is “nothing short of harassing.” The Redstone lawyers also maintain in their court papers that Redstone’s current mental condition is not relevant because the trust modifications occurred in 2015 and 2016.
“A finding that Redstone is mentally incapacitated today would have no bearing on his capacity nearly three years ago, when the instruments were executed,” according to Redstone’s attorneys’ court papers.
In a sworn declaration, Redstone’s lead attorney, Robert Klieger, stated that he has met with his client as recently as Saturday and posed the question whether he would be willing to sit voluntarily for a mental exam.
Using an iPad to communicate, Redstone responded, “no,” according to Klieger.
“Based on my interactions with Mr. Redstone, I have been and remain confident that Mr. Redstone understands what I discuss with him regarding the various litigation and other matters, that his responses to my questions reflect his true feelings (and) that he continues to have capacity to make decisions about litigation…,” according to Klieger, who acknowledged that Redstone has impaired speech.
When Redstone learned from Klieger that Kopelson had made the video footage, Redstone referred to Kopelson “with an expletive,” according to Klieger.
“Given Mr. Redstone’s severe speech impairment and my difficulty understanding much beyond yes/no responses, I was surprised that I was able to understand the expletive,” Klieger says.
A hearing on Herzer’s motion is scheduled Nov. 30.
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