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Probate trial gets delayed as future of Sterling family ownership of LA Clippers remains in limbo

Lawyers representing Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Donald Sterling, wanted an expedited hearing, but it is not to be

The trial regarding the Sterling family’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers has been delayed for two weeks after a lively few days of revealing testimony.

It is now predicted any decision will not come until the end of July at the soonest.

Lawyers representing Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Donald Sterling, wanted an expedited hearing, but it is not to be.

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The proposed $2 billion sale of the basketball team to Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, was expected to be voted on by the NBA Board of Governors by July 15. That would have allowed a closing on the deal by Sept. 15.

But because two of Donald Sterling's lawyers want to go on vacation and celebrate a wedding anniversary, the hearing was delayed until July 21. Closing arguments are scheduled for July 28.

The delays were approved by California Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas. But ESPN reported that Shelly Sterling's attorneys have accused Donald Sterling's lawyers of stalling the proceedings.

The latest delay will not likely impact the final outcome of the deal, because the agreement can be extended a month longer, news reports said. ESPN reported that if the sale has not been completed by Sept. 15, the NBA could on its own auction the team.

So far, some of the comments coming from the courtroom have been lively. Donald Sterling called Shelly Sterling a "pig" following her testimony.

"Stay away from me, you pig,” he was quoted saying.

Shelly Sterling had testified Donald asked her to sell the team because the NBA threatened it was going to auction it off.

"I never thought he would sue me for doing something he asked me to do," she testified. "I never thought this would happen."

"His biggest concern was to stop the sale of the team by the league," she added. "He knew they were going to vote us out."

At one point, Donald Sterling told his wife, "Wow, you did a good job!" after hearing of the record deal with Ballmer, The Los Angeles Times reported.

But when Donald Sterling was supposed to sign documents, "He started screaming and cursing at me," Shelly Sterling said. "He was uncontrollable. ... He said he's not going to sell the team. He's going to sue the league."

Two neurologists later ruled he was mentally incapacitated and showed early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and Shelly Sterling sold the Clippers to Ballmer on May 29.

On Wednesday, Donald Sterling, who now says he will never sell the team, vowed to sue the NBA until he dies, and called it “the worst corporation in America,” and predicted “everyone will find out how terrible and dishonest they are,” according to The Washington Post.

In his testimony, he also took aim at his wife. "She deceived me," Donald Sterling testified. "I trusted her. I believed in her. I never thought a woman wouldn't stand by her husband."

“I’m not a racist. I love all people,” he added. It was Donald Sterling’s racist rant, which was recorded and then televised, that led to the NBA fining him, banning him for life, and moving to get the team sold to new owners.

Contributing Author

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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