A California judge turned down Sumner Redstone’s former companion’s request for a new trial to see if the 93-year-old media mogul is competent to make health care and business decisions.
The companion, Manuela Herzer said she will appeal the decision in order to secure what she calls justice for Redstone and to free him from the influence of his daughter Shari Redstone.
Earlier this year in the original case, Redstone was judged to have been competent in making the decision to remove Herzer as his health care decision maker. Since that ruling Redstone, who controls Viacom and CBS, and his daughter have tried to remove Viacom CEO Philppe Dauman as a director of both Viacom and National Amusements, the Redstone family company that holds the media assets.
Dauman and other Viacom directors have fought the moves in courts in Massachusetts and Delaware. Redstone wants to have his actions ratified by the same California court that has ruled against Herzer.
Like Herzer, Dauman contends that Shari Redstone has undue influence over her ailing father and is seeking to control the media empire herself, against her father’s long-held planning.
Here is a statement from Pierce O’Donnell, Herzer’s attorney:
Today the Probate Court denied Manuela Herzer’s Motion for a New Trial. While Herzer has the utmost respect for Judge David Cowan, she disagrees with today’s ruling and will file today an expedited appeal of this ruling and the dismissal of her case in May.
Herzer sought a new trial on the grounds that she was improperly denied an opportunity to present her full case to the Court. Had she been able to do so, Herzer would have shown how Shari Redstone, working with nurses who betrayed Sumner Redstone by leaking confidential personal and medical information to his estranged daughter, unduly influenced Sumner Redstone to oust his long-time friend, Manuela Herzer, from his life. With Manuela Herzer out of the picture, all obstacles were removed for Sumner Redstone’s estranged daughter to descend upon a mentally incapacitated Sumner Redstone, isolate him and use him as a puppet in her plan to secure control over his media empire.
As I told Judge Cowan this morning, “Evidence is the mother’s milk of justice. By denying my client the right to present all the evidence and testimony, she was deprived of her right to due process, and Sumner was left unprotected from his scheming daughter, Shari.”
Herzer also sought a new trial on the grounds that new evidence has emerged confirming the central tenets of Herzer’s case. Less than two weeks after Judge Cowan dismissed Herzer’s case, Shari, free from judicial oversight, quickly moved to reverse years of succession planning by Sumner Redstone, oust her father’s longtime, loyal lawyers and friends, and install herself and her cronies into positions of power within Redstone’s media empire and estate plan. Those actions are being challenged in Massachusetts and Delaware, but they would never had happened in the first place if Shari had not been able to dismantle the checks and balances maintained by Herzer to prevent Shari and others from manipulating and abusing Sumner Redstone. The key to that scheme was to remove Herzer as Sumner Redstone’s loyal guardian.
Going forward, Herzer intends to vigorously pursue her separate damages case against Shari Redstone and the household staff that collaborated with Shari to betray Sumner Redstone.
Herzer remains confident and determined that justice will be done for Sumner Redstone.
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