News

Clippers’ Sterling: I was tricked into mental health exam

Clippers’ Sterling: I was tricked into mental health exam

CLIPPERS CONTROVERSY:Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA earlier this year. Photo: Associated Press

By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Attorneys for Donald Sterling told a probate court judge on Monday that the Los Angeles Clippers co-owner had been duped into taking medical examinations that determined he lacked the mental capacity to have a say in the $2 billion sale of his team.

Attorney Maxwell Blecher, speaking during a pre-trial hearing in the legal battle for control of the National Basketball Association franchise, said Sterling had been “brought by misrepresentation” by his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, to submit to the examinations last month.

Blecher and co-counsel Bobby Samini also asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas to allow them to present evidence of Sterling’s mental fitness in a bid to allow him to have a say in the family trust that owns the Clippers.

Levanas said he would rule on that request next week but cautioned that he believed the language in the trust that would install Shelly Sterling as its sole trustee if her husband was deemed mentally unfit was straightforward.

“I could do this trial in five minutes,” he said. “I don’t know why you need a court.”

Shelly Sterling has asked Levanas to confirm her as the controlling owner of the team after Donald Sterling vowed to block its $2 billion sale to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.

Sterling, 80, was banned for life by the NBA in April and fined $2.5 million after privately taped racist remarks were leaked to celebrity website TMZ.com.

A four-day trial in Los Angeles Superior Court is set to begin on July 7 and offer a resolution ahead of the NBA owners’ July 15 vote on whether to approve the sale to Ballmer.

Donald Sterling’s lawyers have asked for the trial to be pushed back to August because a possible expert witness on dementia would be out of the country.

In May, neurologists examined Sterling and found that he suffers from dementia consistent with early Alzheimer’s disease, which would hand full control of the Clippers to his wife under a provision of the family’s trust.

Blecher said that a provision in earlier versions of the trust that allowed for a trustee to dispute such a move had been inadvertently omitted in the most recent trust, which was restated in December.

Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, has also sued the NBA and its commissioner, Adam Silver, for $1 billion in damages.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Eric Beech)

Latest Stories

in National

Jobless claims signal firmer labor market

Job seekers adjust their paperwork as they wait in line to attend a job fair in New York February 28, 2013.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market continued to strengthen.

in National

Accused Boston bomber appears in court

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is depicted sitting in federal court in Boston Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, for a final hearing before his trial begins in January. Tsarnaev is charged with the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Boston Marathon bombing suspect told a judge that he was satisfied with his lawyers' preparations for the January start of his trial over the deadly 2013 attack.

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."