Sterling's mental fitness won't feature at Clippers trial
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[July 01, 2014]
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The mental
capacity of Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling will not be
part of an upcoming probate trial over whether his estranged wife had
the authority to sell the NBA team, a judge said on Monday, averting a
battle over Sterling's mental fitness.
The four-day trial, which is set to start on July 7, will focus
on whether Shelly Sterling properly installed herself as sole
controlling trustee of the family trust that owns the Clippers after
two physicians deemed her 80-year-old husband mentally incapable to
Sterling, whose attorneys have argued he was misled into submitting
to mental examinations in May, has vowed to block the NBA-record $2
billion sale brokered by his wife to former Microsoft Corp Chief
Executive Steve Ballmer.
"We are going to argue their examinations were by way of undue
influence," Sterling's attorney, Bobby Samini, said outside court.
"Their examinations were not complete."
Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, was banned for
life by the National Basketball Association in April and fined $2.5
million after privately taped racist remarks were leaked to
celebrity website TMZ.com.
Attorneys for both parties also agreed that Donald Sterling revoked
the family trust following the sale to Ballmer. Los Angeles County
Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas will rule on how that could
affect any sale of the Clippers.
Sterling's attorneys had been prepared to have a physician testify
that Sterling was mentally capable, but Levanas would not agree to
delay the trial for the expert witness' testimony.
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"The trust is obligated, whether revoked or not, to consummate
the deal," said Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell.
Shelly Sterling petitioned the probate court to confirm her as the
trust's controlling trustee in time for the NBA owner's July 15 vote
to approve the sale to Ballmer.
Sterling has also sued the NBA and its commissioner, Adam Silver,
for $1 billion in damages.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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