CBS director who recorded Sumner Redstone says he wasn‘t sneaking shots

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A CBS director accused of secretly recording Sumner says he wasn’t skulking around when he trained his on the ailing billionaire.

Arnold Kopelson, a movie producer and long-time pal of Redstone, said he frequently photographed the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom during their 17-year friendship. Kopelson’s video could be used to show Redstone’s mental state — and that’s made it a controversial piece of potential evidence in a corporate wrestling match over control of CBS.

“There was nothing secretive about this video recording at all,” said in a court filing in a Delaware lawsuit over the CBS fight. The producer said he recorded and a trio of his nurses during a January visit to his California mansion.

“All three nurses were well aware they were being recorded and they encouraged SR to try to communicate during the recording,” said in the filing, unsealed Friday.

Redstone’s family is reserving its rights “against and the nonstandard CBS parties for taking the video in the first instance without his consent and in violation of law,” said Sara Evans, a spokeswoman for Redstone’s outfit, National Amusements Kelli Raftery, a CBS spokeswoman, said her outfit declined to comment beyond public filings.

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CBS’s board, led by Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, say the 95-year-old Redstone’s health problems are so heady he’s “incapable of communicating his views” about a dilution plan designed to slash the family’s voting control from 79 per cent to 17 per cent.

Redstone is said to now communicate mostly through grunts and an iPad preprogrammed with his voice to say yes, no and a profanity.

CBS directors have pointed to Kopelson’s video to buttress their concerns about the billionaire’s ability to communicate. Kopelson, a film producer whose credits include Oscar winner “Platoon,” made the video to “memorialise Redstone’s physical state,” according to his affidavit.

‘Grievous invasion’

National Amusements officials noted in their court filings that Kopelson never explained why he was compelled to document Redstone’s health and recorded the billionaire in his California home without consent. They special that Shari Redstone, the billionaire’s daughter, was “furious” at the CBS director’s surreptitious recording, saying it amounted to a “grievous invasion of privacy and assault on her father’s dignity.”

Kopelson, who first met Redstone at a 2001 dinner party, said he and the media mogul became best friends and attended screening parties over the years.

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