4:06pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Manuela Herzer Fights Discovery in Sumner Redstone Elder Abuse Suit
It has been a busy week for attorneys involved in the legal circus surrounding media mogul Sumner Redstone.
The latest filing comes courtesy of Manuela Herzer, Redstone's former companion who is being sued for elder abuse — and also is suing the mogul's daughter Shari Redstone for spying and scheming to remove her from his life.
Herzer is asking the court to stay discovery against her, and against third parties regarding her, until Redstone is deposed.
"Redstone refused to appear for deposition due to his claimed health conditions, and has filed his own motion for protective order that his deposition not occur unless and until his physician opines that he is healthy enough to do so," writes Herzer's attorney Ronald Richards in the motion. "It is patently unfair, inequitable, and prejudicial to force Herzer to respond to Redstone’s discovery and for Redstone to be able to conduct discovery, while at the same time Redstone takes the position that he cannot sit for his own deposition. Redstone filed this case, not Herzer."
Richards questions how Redstone was able to convey the factual allegations in his $150 million elder abuse complaint (and a real estate dispute in New York) to his attorneys if he's not well enough to sit for deposition.
"Mr. Redstone has the alleged stamina to cancel large mergers effecting billions of dollars and thousands of shareholders," says Richards in a Monday statement. "Yet, he has voluntarily chosen to not appear for two depositions noticed in two cases on two sides of the country due to health issues."
Herzer claims Shari Redstone is a "puppet master" and is behind all of her father's purported decisions.
"At some point, a court in New York or Los Angeles will exclude his testimony from the case and take appropriate measures to avoid this continued manipulation of Mr. Redstone and his estate by others," says Richards. "It is unfortunate that this American icon is now relegated to a Moscow show trial where he is the unwitting actor in litigation he cannot possibly know about or appreciate."
Redstone's attorney Robert Klieger, who first learned of the filing when contacted for comment by the press Tuesday afternoon, sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement. "Ms. Herzer apparently believes that a 93-year-old victim of financial elder abuse with a severe speech impairment must either sit for a deposition against the unequivocal medical advice of his physician or otherwise accede to a $150 million fleecing," says Klieger. "Fortunately, that is not the law."
This comes on the heels of a Monday cross-complaint filed by Redstone's ex-fiancee Sydney Holland. She claims it makes no sense that she and Herzer are the only defendants in the elder abuse suit because Redstone gave millions to multiple women with whom he engaged in "lurid" relationships. The mogul's legal team called the filing "a work of fiction punctuated by not-so-subtle threats of extortion and an overwhelming stench of greed."