After just one day of testimony – dominated by the expletive-laden video deposition of former Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone – California Superior Court Judge David Cowan has tentatively dismissed the mental competency lawsuit against the media mogul.
According to reports, Judge Cowan, after reviewing documents submitted by both sides of the case over the weekend, decided that there is no basis to keep the former Viacom chairman from making his own healthcare decisions.
Redstone’s former girlfriend and caregiver Manuela Herzer filed a lawsuit in November claiming Redstone was not aware of his situation or surroundings and that he had become a “ghost” of his former self. Herzer, who had been dismissed as Redstone’s health care agent and physically removed from his Beverly Hills residence shortly prior to filing the suit, had been seeking to be reinstated as Redstone’s health care agent.
Herzer and the Redsonte camp were reportedly close to a settlement last month but talks broke down and the trial, which had been expected to last at least a week, began on Friday May 6. The trial started off with an 18-minute video deposition from Redstone, where the former Viacom chairman repeatedly referred to Herzer as a “f***ing b***h and said he had thrown her out of his house for lying to and allegedly stealing from him. During the video testimony, where reports said Redstone had to be asked some questions more than once and needed a translator to decipher some of his answers, the media mogul also said he wanted his daughter Shari Redstone to serve as his health care proxy.
In a statement, Shari Redstone said she was pleased the ordeal is over.
"I am grateful to the court for putting an end to this long ordeal," Shari Redstone said in the statement. "I am so happy for my father that he can now live his life in peace, surrounded by his friends and family."
In his tentative ruling, Cowan said that Herzer failed to produce any evidence that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to make he own health decisions.
According to Reuters, Judge Cowan wrote in his decision that Redstone’s own testimony convinced him that the trial should not continue.
"Redstone's testimony has ultimately defeated her case,” Cowan wrote, according to Reuters. “Though Herzer may have believed that Redstone would not be able to say anything, or be able to understand the questions, Redstone did both."
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