LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Donald Sterling testified Tuesday afternoon in the trial over whether his wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers, and his frustration became apparent on the stand.
While a number of tender moments between Sterling and his wife, Shelly, suggest there are still feelings between the two, that didn’t stop the beleaguered owner from lashing out on the stand.
“Be a man, for God’s sake,” Sterling said to attorney Bert Fields. “Stand up and be a man. What do you want to accuse me of?”
Sterling, who had difficulty with the first few questions during his testimony due to an apparent hearing problem, is contesting his wife’s legal ability to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
The 80-year-old was a no-show Monday, when Shelly Sterling’s lawyer argued that her husband willingly submitted to a neurological exam to determine his competency.
Two doctors testified that Sterling suffers from dementia and that he is mentally unfit to make decisions regarding the team.
Sterling had his own opinion of their diagnosis.
“I have five corporations,” Sterling claimed. “I run them every single day. You can call me whatever you want, but those two doctors shouldn’t be (practicing). You told them to find something wrong so you can sell the team.”
His lawyers argue that their client is of sound mind and that his wife tried to dupe him into the sale.
“He was totally unaware that the examination was anything other than his wife’s concern for his health,” attorney Gary Ruttenberg said.
On Monday, a federal judge rejected Sterling’s attempt to have the trial moved to U.S. District Court after Sterling claimed his privacy rights were violated by the public disclosure of medical records.
Ballmer’s offer to buy the team expires July 15, the same day NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the deal.
As far as his sentiment and respect for his wife, Sterling touched on that topic as well.
“I don’t believe I ever fight with my wife,” Sterling said. “We have disagreements. She acts in good faith. She believes what she believes; I believe what I believe.”
If the sale isn’t completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.
The non-jury trial resumed at 1:30 p.m. in LA Superior Court, and Sterling reportedly took the stand shortly after 3 p.m.
The Sterling trial is anticipated to wrap up by the end of the week.
Shelly, who bent down to kiss her husband on the cheek, reportedly walked away from him with tears in her eyes.
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