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The long-awaited and closely watched trial over control of Sumner Redstone’s health care could be cut short.
In a shocking turn of events Friday afternoon, Judge David J. Cowan said he would consider a motion to dismiss filed by Redstone’s attorneys.
There have only been two witnesses at this point: Redstone himself via video and ex-companion Manuela Herzer’s medical expert. However, that may be all Cowan needs to make a ruling in this case.
The development came on the heels of Herzer’s expert Dr. Stephen Read’s testimony, which ended with Read saying that after all that has transpired it would be very difficult for her to fill the role of Redstone’s health care agent.
As soon as Herzer’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell finished his rebuttal interview of Read, Redstone’s attorney Gabrielle Vidal sprung into action and revived their motion to dismiss.
“Mr. Redstone testified today … that he wants Ms. Herzer out of his life,” she says. “Everyone agrees, Dr. Read included, that Manuela Herzer should not be Mr. Redstone’s agent.”
After viewing Redstone’s profanity-laced testimony in a closed courtroom this morning, Cowan acknowledged that Herzer’s attorneys would have an uphill battle to prove that he was unduly influenced in October and continues to be now.
“Mr. Redstone’s testimony was strong,” Cowan says. “How can I sit here and say after listening to that video, ‘No, you can’t have what you want’?”
Cowan wants attorneys for both sides to file briefs to him by Saturday night, addressing whether or not he can take Redstone’s testimony as genuine and not the result of brainwashing as Herzer has alleged. He’ll read through it Sunday and rule Monday morning.
At that point, either the case will be dismissed or trial will continue.
Cowan didn’t let the rest of the afternoon go to waste, as Herzer’s attorney Ronald Richards called Redstone nurse Joseph Octaviano to testify. He didn’t finish his examination, so if trial continues Monday he’ll be back on the stand.
O’Donnell kept postgame comments brief, but says he thinks they’ll be able to satisfy the judge’s concerns and trial will continue.
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