Donald Sterling expected to attend trial over trust owning NBA’s Clippers
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Billionaire Donald Sterling is expected Tuesday to attend for the first time a California probate court trial that is examining his estranged wife’s takeover of the couple’s trust that owns the Los Angeles Clippers.
Donald Sterling could be called to the stand Tuesday.
On Monday, the opening day of the trial, attorneys for wife Shelly Sterling called Donald Sterling as their first witness but he was not at the day’s proceedings.
One of Donald Sterling’s attorneys criticized the other side’s request as a ploy to embarrass Donald Sterling for his absence.
Shelly Sterling is also expected to attend Tuesday’s proceedings.
The probate court trial was scheduled to resume Tuesday afternoon, and the attorneys for Donald Sterling are scheduled to cross-examine a physician who earlier certified Sterling as mentally incapacitated.
A California probate court judge in Los Angeles is hearing evidence on whether wife Shelly Sterling acted properly when she removed her husband from the couple’s trust, in which they equally own the NBA franchise.
Shelly Sterling is now trying to sell the basketball team for a record $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but Donald Sterling is opposing the proposed sale. The NBA ordered the couple to sell the team after Donald Sterling made racial slurs against African-Americans in an audio recording.
Tuesday’s proceeding is scheduled to begin with testimony from Dr. Meril S. Platzer, a neurologist who was one of two physicians who examined Donald Sterling and certified him as being mentally incapacitated and unable to continue as trustee. A third physician reviewed those findings and endorsed their conclusions.
Shelly Sterling took over the couple’s trust after doctors made the determination about his mental state.
Donald Sterling’s lawyers say he was tricked into the medical examinations. They also dispute the assessment that their client is mentally deficient. Late last month, another doctor found Donald Sterling to be mentally fit, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
In court Monday, Dr. Platzer said she examined Donald Sterling on May 19 and found he is suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s and may have had it for three to five years.
Platzer said in a May 29 certification that Donald Sterling has “an impairment of his level of attention, information processing, short term memory impairment and ability to modulate mood, emotional liability, and is at risk of making potentially serious errors of judgment,” court papers said.
Under the trust agreement, if Donald Sterling became mentally incapacitated, he would be removed as a trustee, Shelly Sterling’s attorney said.
But the judge said he is not deciding on Donald Sterling’s mental capacity. Rather, the judge is going to rule only on issues of the trust and whether its procedures were followed correctly.
By Michael Martinez, Sara Sidner and Linda Hall
CNN’s Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.