The ex-companion of media mogul Sumner Redstone filed an appeal on Monday against a judge’s decision to dismiss her bid to be re-installed as the 93-year-old billionaire’s caretaker, likening her case to a Shakespearean tragedy.
“The comparison of waning Sumner Redstone to demented King Lear is apt,” Manuela Herzer said in her petition for a new trial filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Her attorney Pierce O’Donnell argued in the petition that the judge who had dismissed the case in May must reconsider his ruling as there was new evidence proving Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, had schemed over a two-year period to get rid of her father’s caretaker.
Among other things, the petition claims that Shari Redstone had seized control of her father’s affairs, isolating him from his closest friends and colleagues as she sought to rule over his $40 billion media empire.
“This highly probative evidence demonstrates that Manuela was right all along about Shari’s greed and thirst for power motivating her machinations,” O’Donnell said in his petition.
“All of this material new evidence has only recently been discovered and was unavailable at the time of trial.”
O’Donnell added that the case should be reopened as Herzer had also not gotten her fair day in court.
The high-stakes lawsuit brought by Herzer was dismissed after the judge heard videotaped testimony from Redstone in which he used expletives in referring to her and said he wanted his one-time lover and longtime companion out of his life.
“This case is a tragedy reminiscent of Shakespeare’s King Lear,” O’Donnell said. “Mentally incapacitated Redstone is a demented Lear.
“Ailing and easily fooled, Lear, unable to discern false flattery from the truth, is duped into surrendering his power, land and fortune to his two deceitful daughters who ruthlessly implement their scheme to eliminate all opposition to their usurpation of their father’s authority.”
The petition added another layer to a case that has unfolded like a soap opera, captivating Hollywood and Wall Street as court papers have laid out salacious details about the mogul’s private life and his troubled relationship with his daughter.
Herzer was removed as his caretaker last October and cut out of his will.
She has since been battling to be reinstated as health care agent, arguing that he was mentally incapacitated and unduly influenced. She has also filed a separate lawsuit claiming she was cut out of the mogul’s inheritance.
Shari Restone’s attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.
Last week, Shari Redstone appeared to strengthen her control over Viacom as the company announced that it was changing its bylaws to block the sale of a stake in its valuable film unit Paramount Pictures, reports AFP.