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Tom Benson wants mental evaluation as soon as possible

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Tom Benson wants three psychiatrists to evaluate him as soon as possible. Benson says he's ready to move on from allegations that he's not competent to run his business empire.

Benson said in a statement Tuesday that he'll spare no effort defending his rights and the choices he's made. The next step for the billionaire is to undergo an evaluation by three psychiatrists to determine his mental capacity.

“I think it's the right thing for he and his attorney to do and that is, let's go, if you think I'm incompetent, bring it on,” FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti said.

Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese issued the ruling Tuesday. It's a request made by Benson's daughter, Renee, and grandchildren, Rita and Ryan Leblanc. The family's attorney, Randy Smith says, “We're delighted with the judge's rulings. I know it was not something he undertook lightly.”

His heirs are challenging Benson's decision to cut them from the family business and his desire to cease all contact. They want Reese to ultimately issue an interdiction, which would strip Benson of his ability to control his assets.

Benson's attorney, Phil Wittmann, says, “He's made a reasoned decision to exclude his daughter and grandchildren from his life. He conveyed it to them clearly and consistently.”

Raspanti says, “I would think the court is going to rule the way the doctors tell him, and that's going to stick.”

Raspanti thinks that even if Reese decides against an interdiction, it might not put this legal fight to bed. “Then we move on to the decisions he made, is that they are out and Gayle is in, and then they're gonna start fighting more and more about, 'no you can't do that because of the trust,'” Raspanti said.

The trusts Benson has set up leaves his family well taken care of, even despite their now non-existent relationship. “Believe me, those three are still going to be very, very wealthy people no matter how this turns out,” Raspanti said.

Reese wants the doctor's findings reported to him by March 13.

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