Testimony concludes in Sterling probate court trial
Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling gestures while attending a game between the Clippers and Lakers in December 2011. Sterling lost his legal fight to prevent the sale of the Clippers after remarks he made about blacks led to a lifetime ban from the NBA.(Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)
Testimony in the probate court trial between Donald and Shelly Sterling finished Wednesday with the contentious examination of Dr. Jeffrey Cummings.
The Alzheimer’s disease expert from the Cleveland Clinic testified Dr. Meril Platzer’s May exam of Donald Sterling, one of two used to declare him mentally incapacitated, wasn’t appropriate because of Shelly Sterling’s presence.
“My impression was … there is a stress in the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Sterling,” said Cummings, who wasn’t present for the exam.
The testimony in Los Angeles Superior Court elicited a stream of objections from Shelly Sterling’s attorneys and exasperated Judge Michael Levanas. The judge repeatedly expressed skepticism at the testimony’s relevance because both parties agreed before the trial that Donald Sterling’s mental capacity wouldn’t be contested. That meant that topics such as Cummings’ exam of Donald Sterling last month that declared him mentally fit were off limits.
“I don’t have any idea how this is going to help me make a decision in this case,” Levanas said before Cummings was excused from the stand.
Donald Sterling’s attorneys had left open the possibility of recalling Shelly Sterling to testify Wednesday, but didn’t do so.
Instead, they stopped after calling just two witnesses in the case that could decide the fate of the $2-billion bid to purchase the Clippers: Cummings and sports and entertainment consultant Dean Bonham. He testified Tuesday and faced withering cross-examination from Shelly Sterling attorney Pierce O’Donnell.
Donald Sterling’s attorneys also tried to introduce Shelly Sterling’s lawsuit against V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the NBA, among several documents, into evidence. Levanas denied the requests.
Post-trial briefs from the parties are due Thursday, with closing arguments scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
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