Movie producer Arnold Kopelson denied making a video recording of Sumner Redstone in secret in an affidavit unveiled Friday in connection with CBS’ lawsuit against its controlling shareholder, National Amusements Inc.
In the affidavit, which is redacted in parts, Kopelson, a member of the CBS Corp. board of directors, asserts that he took a short video of Redstone with his iPhone held at “eye level” and in “plain view” of three nurses attending to Redstone. “There was nothing secretive about this video recording at all,” Kopelson said. Kopelson describes the recording as “an attempted conversation with (Redstone) to memorialize his physical appearance and his speech.”
The Kopelson video has become a point of contention in the lawsuit unfolding in Delaware Chancery Court. NAI attorneys have said it should not be admissible because it was recorded without the ailing mogul’s consent. Judge Andre Bouchard has allowed the video to be included in the discovery phase of the trial, but it is being kept under seal and out of public view.
The video could be key to bolstering CBS’ claim that the 95-year-old Redstone is no longer physically or mentally capable of calling the shots at NAI, which controls CBS and Viacom. The CBS suit maintains that his daughter, CBS and Viacom vice chair Shari Redstone, has breached her fiduciary duty to other CBS shareholders with her actions in connection with CBS and NAI. Shari Redstone owns 20% of NAI while Sumner Redstone owns the rest. The lawsuit is a byproduct of the strife between CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves and Shari Redstone over the future direction of CBS and Shari Redstone’s proposal that CBS reunite with Viacom.
In Friday’s filing, Kopelson details his 17-year close friendship with Redstone and his habit of taking photographs of the mogul over the years. Redstone “often referred to me as ‘the professional photographer’ and would ask me to take his photograph,” Kopelson states in the affidavit dated Aug. 2.
Kopelson said he met Redstone at a dinner party in 2001 and the two quickly became close friends. “I have been a regular guest at (Redstone’s) home in Los Angeles — often invited to the premises multiple times in a single week,” he stated.
The trial is scheduled for an early October start date.
(Pictured: Arnold Kopelson, Sumner Redstone)