The never-ending legal battle surrounding 94-year-old Sumner Redstone has taken another twist, as the aging mogul’s ex-girlfriend is now fighting with his nurse over access to secret tape recordings.
Sydney Holland has sued Shari Redstone, Sumner’s daughter and the vice chairman of Viacom and CBS, alleging a conspiracy to throw Holland out of Redstone’s house and deprive her of a sizable share of Redstone’s estate. Holland has also sued Redstone’s nurses, including Jeremy Jagiello, accusing them of secretly eavesdropping on her in order to abet Shari Redstone’s plans.
Holland’s lawyers have demanded that Jagiello turn over any audio recordings he made in the Redstone household, including recordings of her and another ex-companion, Manuela Herzer. In response, Jagiello’s attorneys cited a broad range of objections and are refusing to provide the tapes.
Among the objections, Jagiello has invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. It is a crime in California to secretly record someone. Jagiello also cited the doctor-patient privilege and the secrecy of medical information.
“Mr. Jagiello is preserving his objections and rights in light of the allegations that have been made against him,” said Jagiello’s attorney, Bonita Moore. “It’s a shame they’re trying to smear the reputation of the nurses. This is a dispute between Ms. Holland and Ms. Herzer and the Redstones. The nurses’ only concern has been the welfare of their patient.”
Sumner Redstone originally sued Herzer and Holland in October 2016, seeking the return of $150 million in gifts to the women. The suit alleged that the women had abused Sumner Redstone’s trust, sometimes having bags of cash delivered to the Redstone mansion in Beverly Park. The suit alleged they also ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card expenses on clothes and jewelry.
The complaint stated that the nurses alerted Shari Redstone of their concerns about Holland and Herzer. It quotes an update from one of the nurses, Joseph Octaviano.
“From the day I worked there, I witnessed verbal abuse almost every day,” Octaviano wrote to Shari Redstone. “Nagging, threatening and back stabbing to win your Dad’s sympathy and a lot of document signing.”
New information about the tape recordings is cited in Holland’s amended cross-complaint, which was filed in early November. In messages to Tyler Korff, Shari’s son, Jagiello references tape recordings at the Redstone mansion.
“I also recorded entire conversation as I was here entire time,” Jagiello texted to Korff, according to the complaint.
“Wow, great, how long was it?” Korff replied.
“An hour and 18 minutes you really need to listen to some of the recordings I have,” Jagiello wrote back.
Holland’s lawyers contend that Shari Redstone orchestrated the surveillance in order to turn her father against Holland and assume full control of his affairs. In the cross-complaint, Holland alleges that Shari Redstone hired a private investigator to surveil her in 2013. When that didn’t work, the cross-complaint alleges that Shari turned to the nurses.
In one email, Octaviano wrote to Shari about a meeting at the mansion with Holland, Sumner Redstone, and some lawyers.
“Jeremy and I went to the kitchen, but the RN Mike secretly taped the conversations as per Jeremy,” Octaviano wrote, according to the cross-complaint. “Just to clarify that I have nothing to do with the tape recording. Jeremy was the one that asked Mike to do so.”
In a reply the following day, Shari wrote, “Dear Joseph, I have been thinking about your email. I want to thank you again for keeping me informed about my father. I know that you have only his best interests at heart and am glad that you are there to help him. We all appreciate it more than you know.”
She added: “P.S. I know that you had nothing to do with the tape recording but obviously I do [not] want it sent to me.”
Holland contends that Shari was careful not to condone the tape recording in writing, instead largely outsourcing the job of connecting with the nurses to Korff.
Holland accuses Jagiello of invading her privacy, saying the tapes included her discussions of her sex life, her health, family planning and her finances.