12:23pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Grandson Requests Sumner Redstone Guardian
Sumner Redstone's grandson has asked the court to appoint a guardian ad litem in the legal battle over his estate planning documents, claiming the 95-year-old mogul struggles to communicate and the move will ensure the "integrity" of the proceedings is protected.
Redstone has been locked in several legal battles with former companions that have questioned the former Viacom chairman's ability to make decisions about his life and his business, and now a third party could make sure those disputes are in his best interest.
After arguing in court for years that Redstone lacked the mental capacity necessary to remove Manuela Herzer from his estate planning documents after he kicked her out of his mansion in 2015, Herzer changed her approach. Her attorneys are now arguing that because Redstone's legal team insists that he does, in fact, have capacity — and is the driving force behind the $150 elder abuse lawsuit against Herzer and his former fiancee Sydney Holland — that means he can't ask the court to confirm the validity of his trust before his death.
In a Friday hearing, L.A. County probate judge David Cowan indicated it's time to appoint an independent attorney to look out for Redstone's interests. Redstone's grandson Tyler Korff on Wednesday made the formal request. In a separate filing the same day, Redstone stated he consents to "the Court's appointment of an independent guardian ad litem to represent my interests in this proceeding."
"Mr. Redstone suffers from a number of health conditions, including most notably a severe speech impairment that limits his ability to communicate verbally," states Korff's petition. "The Court has raised appropriate concerns about ensuring that the interests of Mr. Redstone are protected and that the resolution of his petition is not reasonably susceptible to challenge based on questions about his ability to have directed the litigation."
Korff also contends that a guardian will safeguard the integrity of the proceedings "in the face of Ms. Herzer's repeated and well-publicized assertions that this litigation is being controlled by and for the benefit of persons other than Mr. Redstone."
Korff's filing recommends the guardian be chosen from two probate attorneys, Jackson Chen and Samuel Ingham, III, the latter of which oversees Britney Spears' conservatorship.