Judge Rejects Sterling Attempt To Move Clippers Legal Battle To Federal Court
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A federal judge Monday rejected an attempt by lawyers for Donald Sterling to have the legal battle over his wife's authority to sell the Clippers moved to U.S. District Court.
The decision came after Sterling filed papers in federal court contending his privacy rights were violated by the disclosure of his medical records to wife Shelly Sterling and the public.
Shelly's lawyers filed an emergency brief overnight Sunday attempting to block Donald's lawyers' attempts to get the trial moved to a federal court.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CLIPPERS OWNER CONTROVERSY
The 80-year-old's attorneys filed the request Thursday saying their client's privacy rights regarding medical information were violated after Shelly had two doctors examine him and reportedly determine he was mentally incompetent.
"These were personal, medical tests. They had nothing to do with removal, therefore, those exams probably do not count," Sterling probate lawyer Gary Ruttenberg said.
Shelly and her legal team say the request was just an effort to derail the sale of the Clippers as the July 15 sale deadline made in the agreement between Sterling and Ballmer approaches.
"This man is so destructive, he will do anything he can to deprive this family of the $2 billion bucks," Shelly Sterling's attorney Bert Fields said.
"I know that Shelly and her attorneys have that opinion, but there are some very important issues of federal law," Donald Sterling's attorney Bobby Samini said.
The decision means the trial will likely proceed locally, in state court.
With the location now resolved, and the trial now officially underway, attorneys offered opening statements Monday.
Pierce O'Donnell, an attorney with Shelly's camp, suggested that Donald Sterling was not forced to submit to the evaluation in question.
"The evidence will show Donald Sterling submitted to evaluation voluntarily, got scanned voluntarily."
Ruttenberg, meanwhile, had a different point of view to offer the judge, saying "This case reads like a Hollywood soap opera. I call it, 'The Tale of Two Sterlings'."
Donald Sterling's attorney's additionally suggest that Shelly's attorney's executed a 'secret Plan-B' by having Donald declared mentally incapacitated to make sure the sale happened.
The trial is expected to last another three or four days.
Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life in April after making racist remarks an audio recording.
The NBA's Board of Governors is scheduled to meet July 15.
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