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Variety, THR

Lawsuit Paints Portrait of Viacom Boss Sumner Redstone as ‘Living Ghost’; Redstone Camp Fires Back

Nov 25, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Attorneys for Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom and CBS, fired back against a lawsuit filed today by the media titan’s former longtime companion, according to media reports. The lawsuit reportedly challenges Redstone’s mental competency.

Variety reports that Manuela Herzer wants to be reinstated as Redstone’s health care agent after being ejected from his life by one of Redstone’s lawyers in mid-October. “The explosive court documents promise to touch off an intense struggle over the end-of-life care of Redstone, 92, as succession plans for his media empire remain unknown,” Variety notes.

An attorney for Redstone has already issued a fiery response to the lawsuit, calling the claims “preposterous” and “lies,” according to media reports.

The Hollywood Reporter says: “In her lawsuit, Herzer calls Redstone ‘a tragic figure in the waning days of an accomplished life,’ ‘a living ghost,’ barely able to … look after himself without a team [of] caretakers. Represented by Pierce O’Donnell and Bert Fields, she attaches the opinion of one doctor who says that since Redstone discovered that ex-girlfriend Sydney Holland had allegedly been unfaithful, he’s suffered ‘profound psychiatric issues.’  Other doctors are said to ‘believe that he will never be able to eat, drink, or speak clearly again.'”

The opposition brief filed today by Redstone’s attorneys allege that Herzer is just after money, THR notes.

The report quotes the brief stating: “Mr. Redstone kicked Ms. Herzer out of his house on October 12, 2015, and since then, Ms. Herzer has been on a warpath. Why? Because she suspected that in the days or weeks following her removal from his home, Mr. Redstone would take action to amend his estate plan, and that whatever benefit might have previously accrued to her would be eliminated.”

Variety notes that Herzer’s legal documents “describe a twilight life of bizarre paradoxes: Redstone is barely sentient, alternately weepy and combative. He’s unable to care for himself, but still fixated on eating steak and having sex daily, if possible, Herzer claims.”

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