A Massachusetts Probate and Family Court trial to determine whether Sumner Redstone is competent to manage his media empire will begin on September 19 — and might include a deposition of the 93-year-old mogul.
Redstone’s lawyers told the court in a hearing today that he would be willing to sit for a brief session where he would be questioned under oath. That’s still an open item; if it happens, then terms and timing likely will be decided at an August 26 hearing.
Redstone’s lawyers stayed firm in their opposition to an independent medical examination.
The trial date in Massachusetts is a shift from the original plan to begin on October 3. That date coincides with the start of the Jewish New Year.
Separately, Redstone asked California Superior Court Judge David Cowan to stay proceedings in a case he raised seeking to have an official endorsement of his ability to manage his affairs.
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Redstone’s filing says an October 18 hearing in California should be taken off the calendar in the interest of “judicial economy” because issues in a Massachusetts court dispute “substantially overlap.”
The stay in California should last until the end of the Massachusetts trial court proceedings, the filing says.
The Massachusetts case revolves around Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s objection to an effort to oust him and director George Abrams from Redstone’s family trust and the board of National Amusements — which owns 80% of Viacom’s voting shares.
The execs say that Redstone is no longer able to make his own decisions and is being manipulated by his daughter, Shari, who’s Viacom’s Vice Chair. The Redstones reject the charges, and say that Sumner is still calling his own shots.
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