Donald Sterling on the witness stand and in court makes for great theater.
“Make no mistake today, I will never, ever, sell this team. Until I die, I will be suing the NBA,” Sterling shouted during a heated portion of questioning by opposing lawyers….
Soon after, Judge Michael Levanas called an end to the day’s testimony, and Donald Sterling was heard saying to his wife, “Get away from me, you pig!” And then adding, “Shelly, how could you lie?”
(Via the Los Angeles Times reporters in the courtroom Wednesday.)
Whether any of that actually helps his case — having the judge rule his wife and her attorneys did not follow the rules of the joint Sterling Family Trust in having him declared incapacitated and making her the sole trustee of a trust that owns the Clippers — is certainly debatable.
But it is entertaining.
Sterling was on the witness stand for a second day in probate court in a case that will determine whether he is re-instated as a trustee of theTrust, or if the doctors followed the proper steps to have him declared incapacitated. If he is re-instated he will kill the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Baller, something set up by his wife who is the current lone trustee. The NBA backs that sale.
As he was in his first day of testimony, Donald Sterling was in rare form (actually, not that rare for him).
“She deceived me. I trusted her. I believed in her,” Sterling said earlier. “I never thought that a woman wouldn’t stand by her husband.”
(This from the man who has had multiple public mistresses in recent years, including the one who leaked the tape of prejudiced comments that got him banned from the NBA in the first place.)
Shelly Sterling took the stand later in the day and apparently came off as sympathetic to her husband and his condition (doctors have testified that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s).
“He’s been getting more forgetful. He’s slurring his words. He’s agitated a lot. He gets mad for no particular reason,” she said of his condition. “He’s just not the same person that he used to be.”
On the CNN interview Donald Sterling gave to Anderson Cooper, Shelly Sterling said, “I couldn’t believe it and I started crying. I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe that was him.”
That reaction caused Donald to snap at Shelly after the court session ended and call her a pig.
The hearing is supposed to continue one to two more days.
While these were the dramatic parts, what may have mattered more to the judge was Sterling’s lawyer trying to pick apart the testimony of a neurologist who had been one of the doctors who ruled Sterling incapacitated. Donald’s attorneys tried to say Shelly’s attorneys held too much sway over the doctor. Courtroom observers thought the neurologist held her ground.