LOS ANGELES (AP/CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Monday that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can participate in a probate court hearing over whether Shelly Sterling has authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.

Over the objections of Sterling’s attorney Gary Ruttenberg, Judge Michael Levanas concluded that Ballmer has an interest in the case and therefore has standing to participate.

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Ruttenberg argued Ballmer is simply a prospective buyer and not a “bona fide purchaser” who has a direct stake in the proceedings.

“He has nothing to do with the internal affairs of a trust,” Ruttenberg said.

Ruttenberg also disputed Shelly Sterling’s attorneys’ argument that her husband authorized her to sell the team in a May 22 letter, claiming the controversial Clippers owner merely allowed her to negotiate some of the issues.

Shelly Sterling struck a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as owner.

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Attorneys for Ms. Sterling filed a new motion last week to limit the focus of the upcoming trial on the sale of the Clippers.

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Shelly’s team has asked the judge not to allow Donald Sterling to present any evidence on his mental state.

Two doctors examined the 80-year-old Sterling in May and declared him mentally incapacitated.

His attorneys say the examinations were fraudulently attained and he should be able to call his own experts.

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