Ex-mistress Manuela Herzer(left) through her attorney’s described Redsone as a “living ghost”
Photo: Frazer Harrison
92-year-old billionaire, Ex -head of Viacom and CBS, Sumner Redstone with last companion Sydney Holland
Monday saw the adrupt close of the contentious probate battle over Sumner Redstone’s mental capacity – but a new stage opened in civil court with a surprise $100 million lawsuit filed by Herzer.
Judge David Cowan, sitting in a Los Angeles court, dismissed the November probate action by Redstone’s ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer that claimed the 92-year-old billionaire — the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS — is a “living ghost” who had no idea what was happening when she was booted from his mansion last October and removed as the agent on his Advance Health Care Directive.
The judge who had hinted on Friday that he would consider a dismissal by Monday, did exactly as he said. Judge Cowan said the reclusive media mogul was “alert” and convincing when he testified last week that he personally banished Herzer from his life and considered her a “f—ing bitch.”
Aging billionaire, Sumner Redstone in court unloaded on Herzer(left) – ” I want the “f—ing bitch out of my life”.
Herzer immediately said she would appeal the court decision, Monday and filed the new $100 million lawsuit against Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone and seven nurses.
She claims the defendants intentionally interfered with her expected inheritance, violated her privacy and caused breach of contract, her lawyer Pierce O’Donnell said outside court, minutes after her the probate court loss.
“My client came here to protect Sumner Redstone, and we think we established overwhelmingly that he has serious mental defects and perhaps more so that he has been the victim of serious undue influence in a campaign initiated by Shari Redstone,” O’Donnell said.
“We are confident that a jury — this is going to be a jury in this courthouse — hearing this down the road will share our feelings that what happened to Sumner Redstone was not the product of free will,” he said.
He said Shari and the nurses used “artifice and deceit” to get Redstone to lock “the love of his life” out of his house and “disinherit her out of $70 million dollars.”
The probate case was decided in a bench trial with only the judge hearing evidence — not a jury.
In his 18-minute deposition videotaped Thursday at his gated Beverly Hills estate with the help of a speech therapist, Redstone unleashed a vile rant against Herzer.
The prevous support cast. Sydney Holland, Redstone and Manuela Herzer, the last two girlfriends/companions of 92 year-old Sumner Redstone.
The judge viewed the video behind closed doors Friday.
“Redstone’s testimony has ultimately defeated her case,” Cowan wrote in his ruling Monday.
“In brief but compelling testimony, Redstone overcame his very significant physical ailments, including inability to speak clearly and what looked like much pain in swallowing, to do his best to recount (what happened),” Cowan wrote.
“The court was able to see the strong conviction he had about what he said. He seemed very alert,” the judge said. “The court does not believe Redstone had any confusion about what he was asked, about his wishes or the reasons for his wishes.”
The judge said Redstone was firm that he wants his daughter Shari Redstone to serve as the agent in charge of his healthcare if he cannot act in that capacity himself.
“Redstone made crystal clear at his deposition that the reason he did not want Herzer as his agent was that he had kicked her out of his home,” the judge said.
“I am grateful to the court for putting an end to this long ordeal. I am so happy for my father that he can now live his life in peace, surrounded by his friends and family,” Shari Redstone said in a statement after the Monday ruling.
“Mr. Redstone is grateful that the court dismissed this case and honored his stated wish to keep Manuela Herzer out of his life and healthcare decisions. Mr. Redstone looks forward to spending time with his loved ones in peace,” Redstone’s lawyer Gabrielle Vidal said in a statement after the dismissal.
“Ms. Herzer bet wrong when she assumed that Mr. Redstone’s difficulty communicating would result in her reinstatement in his life and fortune. Mr. Redstone is looking forward to liberating the $150 million in ‘gifts’ to Ms. Herzer and her friend,” Robert Klieger, another Redstone lawyer, said, referring to a competing effort to reclaim money and property from Herzer and another ex-girlfriend, Sydney Holland.
In his opening statement Friday, O’Donnell described an alleged conspiracy that used a web of lies to turn a vulnerable Redstone against Herzer.
O’Donnell described his face-to-face meeting with Redstone on Thursday as “haunting.”
“It was like looking at a living ghost. I was actually teary-eyed when I left,” he said. “The anger was clearly triggered by lies the staff had told him about Manuela stealing millions.”
He argued Redstone’s daughter Shari was behind the “devious campaign” to unseat Herzer and take over Redstone’s affairs.
Speaking Monday, O’Donnell claimed criminal statutes were violated when staff members illegally recorded Herzer and Holland inside Redstone’s house and allegedly shared the material with Shari.
O’Donnell said Herzer is committed to her new lawsuit, especially after viewing Redstone’s videotaped deposition.
“She was devastated, in tears,” he told The News, describing Herzer’s reaction.
He said a settlement was unlikely.
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