Sumner Redstone trial should be open to public: tentative ruling

Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of CBS Corp. and Viacom, arrives at the premiere of "The Guilt Trip" starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen in Los Angeles December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The trial over media mogul Sumner Redstone's healthcare directive should be open to the public, a California judge said in a tentative ruling on Wednesday. Attorneys for Redstone, the controlling shareholder of both Viacom Inc and CBS Corp , had asked the judge to keep part of the trial behind closed doors to protect the 92-year-old billionaire's privacy. Redstone's ex-girlfriend, Manuela Herzer, filed a lawsuit asking to be reinstated as the person in charge of Redstone's healthcare if he becomes unable to make decisions on his own. Herzer argues that Redstone lacked the mental competency to remove her from his advance healthcare directive last October. Viacom and CBS shareholders have closely followed the lawsuit for what it could reveal about Redstone's condition. Redstone's attorneys say he was fully aware of his actions in October when he named Viacom's chief executive, Philippe Dauman, as the person who would make his medical decisions if he was unable. Earlier this month, Redstone made another change, naming his daughter, Shari, as his healthcare agent instead of Dauman. Attorneys for Redstone argue that Herzer is merely seeking financial gain after Redstone, also in October, revoked a part of his estate plan that would have given Herzer a $70 million inheritance. Herzer's lawyers argued that Redstone's competency should be evaluated in an open trial. The case is set to go to trial May 6 unless the two sides reach a settlement. Earlier settlement talks fell apart. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Leslie Adler)