Viacom CEO Ordered to Testify About Sumner Redstone's Mental Capacity

Philippe Dauman
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive officer Viacom Inc., arrives to a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday, July 10, 2014. 

A New York judge on Thursday ruled that Philippe Dauman must allow himself to be deposed about the mental state of Sumner Redstone, something the Viacom CEO had been trying to avoid.

Thursday's ruling, the latest decision in the ongoing drama pitting 92-year-old Redstone against former girlfriend Manuela Herzer, indicated Dauman should make himself available for at least one day within the next 30 days.

Herzer is suing Redstone because he removed her as his health agent and instead installed Dauman, who has maintained Redstone was mentally fit enough to make such a decision while Herzer says he was not.

Meanwhile, Redstone's lawyers are suggesting Herzer is motivated by money, since she stood to lose an inheritance of $50 million cash plus Redstone's $20 million home in Beverly Hills, though the media mogul removed her from his estate plan the same day he altered his health directive.

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Dauman has acknowledged Redstone's speech impediment but has called him "engaged and attentive" and also says he was making sound business decisions until he recently stepped down as Viacom's executive chairman. He was replaced by Dauman.

Dauman's attorneys had argued from New York, where he resides, that a written declaration from Dauman in November was sufficient and therefore he should not be made to sit for deposition, but the judge on Thursday sided with Herzer and against Dauman.

"Mr. Dauman is pleased to cooperate and fully prepared to comply with the request for appropriate and legally relevant information in the California proceeding," Dauman's attorrneys said in a statement issued Thursday.

Judge Katherine Freed's decision could be a moot point, though, if a Los Angeles judge decides on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit.

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In the meantime, though, Herzer's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, was celebrating Thursday's victory.

"We are thrilled about this significant positive development as we continue to gather ore and more incriminating evidence that Mr. Redstone is the victim of severe mental and emotional abuse, fraud and manipulation by those close to him," he said in a statement released after Thursday's ruling.

"When I take his deposition, Dauman will be forced under oath to tell the truth about his participation in the orchestrated campaign to cover up the truth."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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