Originally posted at 3 p.m. June 30, 2014. Edited with new details.
Attorneys in the upcoming probate court trial on whether Shelly Sterling had authority under a family trust to sell the Clippers agreed today that the proceedings will focus on whether Donald Sterling was induced into undergoing mental examinations by two doctors without being told the reason.
But there will be no rebuttal testimony from Donald Sterling's attorneys challenging the findings by the two physicians that he was mentally incapacitated, which his wife maintains gave her authority to sell the team.
The trial, scheduled for next Monday, also will deal with whether Sterling's June 9 revocation of the trust had any impact on the proposed sale. Shelly Sterling's lawyers maintain the $2 billion offer from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was already accepted by her and that her husband's actions were meaningless.
Today's agreement concerning the scope of the trial was reached after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas said he would not exclude Ballmer from participating in the trial. He then told the lawyers to take a recess and recommend what issues needed to be dealt with during trial.
Ballmer's inclusion in the case came over the objections of Donald Sterling attorney Gary Ruttenberg, who argued Ballmer is nothing more than 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. He said the Clippers owner merely gave her permission to negotiate some of the issues.
Levanas denied a request by Donald Sterling's attorneys for a short delay in starting the trial. They had argued that they need time to bring in another doctor to testify that Sterling is not incapacitated.
Attorneys for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer maintain that a ruling by Levanas is needed by July 15 so the NBA can consider the proposed sale.
Ballmer's lawyer, Adam Streisand, lauded Levanas' actions.
"We're thrilled by what he did today," Streisand said.
Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life earlier this year following the public release of recorded conversations between him and companion V. Stiviano. Sterling is heard on the tape disparaging Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and telling her not to bring them to Clippers games.
The league announced plans to take action against Sterling to force him to sell the team. But Sterling has since filed a lawsuit against the NBA, alleging violations of his civil rights. He has contended that he was recorded illegally while making emotional remarks during a "lovers' quarrel" with Stiviano.
--City News Service