Just over a month after the first Sumner Redstone health care trial was dismissed and with legal battles over Viacom and more on many fronts across the nation, the media mogul’s ex-companion today made a move for another day in court – with harsh words for daughter Shari Redstone and Shakespearean overtones galore.
“The comparison of waning Sumner Redstone to demented King Lear is apt,” says a motion for new trial filed Monday by lawyers for Manuela Herzer (read it here), claiming again that the dismissal of Redstone’s ex as his health care agent last fall was invalid. “Ailing and easily fooled, King Lear, unable to discern false flattery from the truth, is duped into surrendering his power, land, and fortune to his two conniving daughters who ruthlessly implement their scheme to eliminate all opposition,” the petitioner’s motion submitted in L.A. Superior Court today by Herzer’s Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinge legal team.
Today’s paperwork seeks a July 11 hearing on the matter and a proposed order setting a new trial date to ostensibly pick up where the May 9 shuttered trial over who controls the billionaire’s care when he can’t make decisions for himself never got to go. The move was essentially promised by Herzer’s lead lawyer Pierce O’Donnell last month when Judge David Cowan threw out the first trial after a video deposition of Redstone indicated that the ex-Viacom boss wanted Herzer out of his life and his sometimes estranged daughter to be in charge of his care.
With flaws in Judge Cowan’s ruling rife throughout the filing and much fuel to the fire that the mogul lost capacity at least before last fall, Redstone’s daughter and now health care agent Shari is the object of scorn and suspicion. The crux of that being that new evidence has come to light in recent weeks confirming that the younger Redstone had a three-part plan to take over her father’s life and businesses like Viacom and CBS. “All of this material new evidence has only recently been discovered and was unavailable at the time of trial,” said O’Donnell after today’s filing was entered in the court.
“Shari waited until the Court’s supervision had terminated before she implemented her two year scheme to seize control of Redstone’s media empire,” the O’Donnell and Bert Fields led legal team assert today in the motion, with references to the corporate and family trust matters that have arisen since Herzer’s case was tossed. “She then capitalized on her control of her frail, incapacitated father, using her father as an unwitting tool to realize her corporate agenda,” the 16-page poetically inclined filing notes. “Post-trial developments have verified the truth of Herzer’s theory in this case, and given new meaning and significance to evidence that she would have presented at trial. Accordingly, a new trial is necessary to alter Herzer present this new evidence and to rectify the refusal to testify and present other material evidence she would have offered at the original trial.”
Today’s petition adds to the $100 million civil suit filed on May 9 against Shari Redstone and seven members of her father’s household medical staff. It also comes to L.A. Superior Court as the Redstones fight in this jurisdiction to affirm the removal of Viacom chair and CEO Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams from the family trust last month. This is in addition to other court maneuvers in Massachusetts and on the East Coast in what has become a family and corporate civil war.
“A new trial will reveal why the twilight of Redstone’s storied life is a tragedy on a scale with Lear: A cunning, ‘thankless child’ whose convenient reconciliation with her debilitated, defenseless father is a ruse to accomplish what her father had gone to elaborate ends to prevent— her seizure of his kingdom,” the filing pleads drawing again from William Shakespeare, of whom attorney Fields has written books about. “This Court’s decision granting the Petition following a new trial can prevent what happened to Lear where ‘machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves.'”
Though such retrial requests are usually rejected, the escalating profile of matters Redstone and said new evidence could see this get at least a hearing. Either way, it will not be the stuff as dreams are made on for any concerned – and a potential PR nightmare for Shari Redstone