Donald Sterling Ordered To Testify At Clippers Sale Trial - KMSP-TV

Donald Sterling Ordered To Testify At Clippers Sale Trial

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(FOX 11 / AP) Donald Sterling, who's challenging his wife's $2 billion deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, was ordered to testify after he skipped the opening of the case.

Sterling was ordered to appear for Tuesday afternoon's hearing after he couldn't be found Monday. Instead, the first testimony came from a neurologist who concluded that the 80-year-old team owner had Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Meril Sue Platzer testified that she was hired by Sterling's wife, Shelly, to evaluate him and made the diagnosis based on two brain scans and a two-hour interview at his home with his wife and an attorney present.

"After it was over," she said. "I told him and Mrs. Sterling that he probably has Alzheimer's."

"What was his reaction?" asked Pierce O'Donnell, an attorney for Sterling's wife.

"I'm hungry. I want to eat," Platzer said.

Shelly Sterling "was taken aback, shocked and very concerned for her husband," the doctor said.

Sterling's lawyers have argued that he's perfectly capable of handling decisions and that his wife had no authority to unilaterally reach a deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

They tried to get a federal judge to switch the probate case to federal court - which would have delayed it - but the motion was rejected Monday. The motion argued that Sterling's federal medical privacy rights were violated because the records were disclosed to his wife and the public.

His lawyers also have argued that Sterling agreed to be mentally evaluated by two doctors under false pretenses, being unaware that the results would be used for legal purposes and thinking it was because of his wife's concern for his health.

Platzer testified that she wasn't told that her evaluation was in connection with the Clippers sale and that she was hired after Shelly Sterling viewed her husband's sometimes-rambling television interview with Anderson Cooper.

Sterling's attorneys also have argued that the exams and letters regarding his mental capacity were defective and incomplete, and that there was conspiracy to sell the team without his consent.

The NBA has moved to oust Sterling because of racist remarks he made to a girlfriend.

"The NBA wants to get rid of my client," Sterling attorney Gary Ruttenberg said in court. "They were colluding with Mrs. Sterling and her counsel to do this."

His wife's lawyers claim Donald Sterling has been engaging in tactics to run out the clock on the Clippers sale.

NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the deal on July 15. It's also the day that Ballmer's offer is set to expire - and there is no deal without the judge's approval of the sale.

If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

"He will pull out all the stops to prevent the sale from going forward," O'Donnell told Judge Michael Levanas.

 

From Sandra Endo:

A probate Judge is set to begin hearing evidence in the Sterling case and whether or not Shelly Sterling has the power to sell the clippers under the family trust.

Owner Donald Sterling wants the matter to be moved to federal court but whatever the outcome at stake is 2 billion dollar deal to sell the team.

The trial will focus on if Donald Sterling's two mental examinations were conducted with his knowledge of what they would be used for.

Two doctors concluded the 80 year old billionaire is mentally incapacitated which is the crux of the argument his estranged wife Shelly Sterling is making as to why she has authority under a family trust to sell the Clippers.

A judge will also consider whether Sterling's June 9th revocation of the trust has any impact on the proposed sale.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered to buy the team for 2 billion dollars before Sterling's move to nullify the trust.

This all stems from the NBA banning Sterling for life and fining him 2.5 million dollars after his racist remarks were leaked earlier this year. The NBA is forcing Sterling to sell the team. In turn he is suing the NBA for civil rights violations.

The sale of the clippers hinges on the Actions by the judge, Lawyers for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer argue a decision needs to be made by July 15 so the NBA can consider the proposed sale.

Donald Sterling's attorneys say that his wife "blindsided" him and he submitted to examinations under false pretenses. They allege there was undue influence in the doctors' findings, and that the exams and letters regarding his mental capacity were defective and incomplete.

They say that if he had been properly informed, he would have participated at a more convenient time instead of being pulled out of legal meetings.

"He would have also eaten properly and have been well rested for the examinations and focused on taking the exam with the full and complete understanding what it was for and the serious nature of the exam," they wrote in filings.

But Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said that Donald Sterling voluntarily went to take scans of his brain and there was no requirement to remind Donald Sterling, who is an attorney, or his legal team of the trust's conditions.

The trial will also focus on the question of what happens to a deal that hasn't been closed once a trust is revoked. Donald Sterling revoked the trust on June 9 - weeks after Shelly Sterling negotiated the deal with Ballmer.

Shelly Sterling's attorneys also contend that finishing the deal is part of "winding down" the trust's affairs and that she has an obligation to close or Ballmer will sue.

Donald Sterling's attorneys argue that the probate court now lacks jurisdiction and that winding down affairs refers to passive actions, not a sale that markedly changes the assets in the trust and its value.

Donald Sterling's attorneys made a late move last week to shift the case to federal court so their allegations of medical privacy violations in the probate case can be heard.

Attorneys for both Shelly Sterling and Ballmer called the filing a "desperate" tactic that they would seek to block.

On Sunday night, lawyers for Shelly Sterling and Balmer filed an emergency brief in federal court opposing Donald Sterling's motion to remove the trial to federal jurisdiction. They argued that no federal issue has been raised by him and he waived his right to move the case when he participated in the probate case with numerous motions. They argued that Levanas should order the trial to go forward in probate court.

It was not immediately clear when a federal judge would rule on the filing or how it would affect the probate proceedings, but the trial remained on schedule to start Monday morning.

Whatever happens, timing is tight. NBA owners must approve what would be a record-breaking deal and are scheduled to meet July 15 to vote. The brief filed Sunday said any delay will deny Shelly Sterling the chance to close the deal with Balmer "without ever having had an opportunity for a hearing on the matter."

That's the same day Ballmer's offer is set to expire - and there is no deal without the judge's approval of the sale.

If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

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