Sterling Trial Continues Over Clippers Ownership
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Testimony was brief Monday in the trial of Shelly Sterling’s lawsuit seeking approval to sell the Los Angeles Clippers despite the objections of her husband, Donald.
The trial resumed for a short time after it was in recess for several days last week due to court scheduling conflicts.
Testimony Monday lasted until about 10 a.m. with Darren Shield, the CFO of the Sterling’s family business. The case this week will focus on whether Donald Sterling was properly removed as a trustee.
“This whole thing was a plan against my client, by his wife, his wife’s attorneys and the NBA,” Sterling’s attorney Gary Ruttenberg said.
On Friday, Judge Michael Levanas ruled that testimony will not be thrown out from two doctors who determined Donald Sterling as incapable of serving on the Sterling Family Trust.
Judge Levanas also barred Donald’s lawyers from calling Shelly’s attorneys as witnesses.
The 80-year-old and his lawyers say Sterling was tricked into agreeing to the medical examination, which determined he was incompetent to make decisions regarding the team’s affairs.
“Court does not have jurisdiction. Court can’t make effective orders in this case, we’re dealing with the sale of corporate assets by a corporation, there’s no internal affair of a trust,” Ruttenberg said.
Sterling also maintains that he did not give legal authority to his wife to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 million.
Ballmer’s agreement expires on Aug. 15.
If the judge rules in Shelly’s favor, he has the authority to allow the sale to Ballmer to go through despite a potential appeal by Donald Sterling.
Meanwhile, the NBA set a deal for the team to be sold by Sept. 15, either by auction or a deal.
There is a possibility both Sterlings could be called to the stand to testify once again, although Ruttenberg says Donald may not be called after he ranted the last time he was on the stand.
“He’s the last one on our list, we may or may not call him, right now we don’t know that we will, but we wanted to preserve the opportunity,” he said. “After his last statement in court, I’m not so sure.”
Testimony will continue through Wednesday with closing arguments set for July 28.