By Keach Hagey
Media mogul Sumner Redstone and his family have agreed to settle their long-running legal dispute with his former live-in companion, Manuela Herzer, less than a week before one of the cases was scheduled for trial in California, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of the settlement, Ms. Herzer has agreed to pay back $3.25 million of the tens of millions of gifts that Mr. Redstone gave her, the people said. The wide-ranging agreement ends all litigation between the two sides, who have been battling in the courts since the fall of 2015, when Mr. Redstone kicked Ms. Herzer out of his Beverly Hills mansion, replaced her as his health-care agent and wrote her out of his estate planning.
Ms. Herzer argued that Mr. Redstone lacked the mental capacity to make these decisions, a charge that ended up shaking the media empire that he controlled to its very foundations. Shortly after she got a court-appointed doctor to examine Mr. Redstone in early 2016, he stepped down as the executive chairman of the two companies he controls, CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.
The burying of this hatchet will likely quiet lingering questions about the legitimacy of the rise to power of Mr. Redstone's daughter, Shari, who Ms. Herzer has alleged has been manipulating her father since 2015 in order to take over his media empire against his will. Ms. Redstone, through her attorneys, has denied the allegations.
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