Sterling attorneys conclude their case
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Donald Sterling’s attorneys abruptly ended their case today in his wife’s bid for court approval to sell the Clippers, deciding against calling her as a witness and setting the stage for final arguments on Monday.
The final witness in Donald Sterling’s case was Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, who acknowledged under cross-examination by Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, that the two doctors who found the Clippers owner incompetent did not have to state the reason for their examinations beforehand. Cummings is an expert in Alzheimer’s disease.
Donald Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, decided not to call his client’s wife after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas said he could not ask Shelly Sterling about her lawsuit against her husband’s former companion, V. Stiviano, or about the Clippers owner’s antitrust suit against the NBA.
O’Donnell said afterward that Donald Sterling’s defense of fraud and undue influence has now “disappeared like that.” He expressed confidence that Levanas will see Donald Sterling’s argument as a “diversion” and not block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even if there is an appeal.
O’Donnell also scoffed at Donald Sterling’s new lawsuit filed Tuesday against his wife, the NBA, the Clippers and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He said it raised “the same old issues” that the probate case has dealt with and that the lawsuit will be dealt with later.
“Donald Sterling is running out of courts in which to file cases,” O’Donnell said, noting that the billionaire has lodged lawsuits in federal and state court and has fought his wife’s case in probate court.
O’Donnell said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and star point guard Chris Paul will likely not stay with the team if Sterling remains as the owner. He also predicted television ratings would decline and there would be a drop in team sponsors.
Levanas told the lawyers he wants the closing arguments to be focused in three areas, mainly dealing with whether Shelly Sterling had authority under the family trust to remove her husband as a co-trustee because of his alleged mental incompetence and whether her husband’s subsequent revocation of the trust had any effect on her ability to sell the team to Ballmer.