In a sign of the familial divisions being opened up in the wake of the Viacom and CBS chief’s declining health, Keryn Redstone is asking to be named a co-petitioner. She is the granddaughter of Sumner Redstone’s estranged son, Brent Redstone. The court will decide whether or not Keryn Redstone has leave to join the suit on Wednesday.
Attorneys for Herzer have previously accused Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, of waging a “campaign of harassment, lies and deceit” to try to exclude his former companion from Redstone’s life. In a legal filing this week, Herzer’s attorneys hit back at a recent health care directive that names Shari Redstone as her father’s health care agent.
In a declaration filed with the court, the granddaughter describes the famous family patriarch as being held as a prisoner in his own home, largely controlled by a nurse who exerted his influence largely by overseeing the elder Redstone’s access to sex. Keryn and other family members called Sumner Redstone “Grumpy.” She said that, as her grandfather grew older, he became more preoccupied with sex and the nurse “was using that fixation to increase his influence with and manipulate Grumpy and to assert greater control over the household.”
In contrast to the assertion of Sumner Redstone’s lawyers that he pushed Manuela Herzer out of his home last October, 34-year-old Keryn Redstone said that lawyers and others forced Herzer out, causing the nonagenarian enormous distress. Redstone repeatedly told his granddaughter how much he missed Herzer. “I could tell that he was heartbroken at the loss of his dear friend — the kind woman who was ‘the love of his life,’ ” Keryn Redstone said in her declaration.
The granddaughter said that after interlopers forced Herzer out, Redstone’s Beverly Park home increasingly felt like a prison. “There was more secrecy and constant interference with my attempts to communicate with Grumpy,” Keryn Redstone stated.
Keryn said she finally got a chance to see her grandfather on Valentine’s Day, only to find him being mistreated anew. This time his nurse was reading a recent newspaper profile that describe a fire in which a younger Redstone had been badly burned. Hearing the account, the bed-ridden Redstone “became extremely agitated and began have a very negative emotional reaction.” That prompted the nurse to read the article a second, and third, time, “literally torturing my grandfather,” the younger Redstone claimed.
Keryn is the daughter of Brent Redstone, who has long been estranged from his father, Sumner Redstone, and from his sister Shari. The granddaughter’s declaration reiterates claims previous accusations –claiming that Shari, her aunt, was at times inattentive to Sumner Redstone and other other times manipulative.
Keryn Redstone claims that Shari vowed to “get” her brother and father. The granddaughter also claims that Shari Redstone pushed for a “do not resuscitate” order for the media magnate and declared that he wanted to die at home, even as Sumner Redstone insisted “I don’t want to die!”
The younger Redstone says she was still in college at NYU when she first met Manuela Herzer. She depicts her in the declaration as a consistent and caring voice for Sumner Redstone. Keryn stated that the care of Redstone had deteriorated badly since Herzer and another former girlfriend, Sydney Holland, had been ejected from his home.
Lawyers for Sumner Redstone declined to comment on the Keryn Redstone declaration or latest maneuvers by Herzer.
In an email to Variety, Herzer’s attorney Ronald Richards wrote that Keryn Redstone’s “participation as a witness and maybe a party corroborates everything Ms. Herzer has been saying about the cabal to shatter Mr. Redstone’s health care wishes. The court was told it took a lot of courage for Ms. Keryn Redstone to come forward and break the wall of silence. She is a woman of strong courage who cares about her grandfather and exposing the truth and nothing else.”
Herzer was ousted from Redstone’s household last year. Her attorneys have raised questions about Redstone’s mental competency and about the decision to remove Herzer from the property. Earlier this month, the litigation was on the verge of being settled, but talks devolved. In February, Sumner Redstone stepped down as chairman of both Viacom and CBS, two companies he had long controlled.
Herzer’s legal team is seeking permission to have Sumner Redstone undergo a neurological exam from a doctor of their choosing if attorneys for the mogul call his neurologist, Dr. Hart Cohen, as an expert witness, Richards said.
An attorney for Redstone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Correction: An earlier version misspelled the name of Ronald Richards.