Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling, Approves Sale of Clippers

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 28 2014 6:35 PM

Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling, Approves Sale of Clippers

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Donald Sterling loses court battle with estranged wife, Shelly Sterling.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)

A Los Angeles court ruled against Donald Sterling’s effort to block the sale of the Clippers on Monday. The probate court ruled in favor of Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, allowing the $2 billion sale she brokered with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to go through.

“The central question in the case was whether [Shelly] Sterling acted properly in removing her estranged husband from their trust,” according to the New York Times. Donald Sterling was examined by two doctors who declared him mentally incapacitated, allowing him to be removed as a trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers. Donald Sterling’s lawyers claimed he was duped into taking the tests as part of a larger plot to strip him of the franchise.

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Here’s more on the trial and ruling from the Associated Press:

[Shelly Sterling] sought approval from a probate judge for the deal she struck after removing her husband from the trust that owned the team when doctors found he had signs of Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t manage his affairs… He later revoked the trust after she negotiated the record-setting sales price and his lawyers argued that the move killed the deal. They said the case didn’t belong in probate court because the trust had been dissolved… Lawyers for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer had urged the judge to let the sale go through because it was in the best interest of the family trust. They said an auction was less likely to bring such a high price and that coach Doc Rivers, key players and sponsors were likely to walk if Donald Sterling’s ownership was prolonged.

“The judge, Michael Levanas, said that he found [Shelly] Sterling to be a more credible witness than her husband, who acted erratically during several days of testimony, raising his voice at lawyers from both sides, and referring to his wife as ‘a pig,’” according to the Times. "The court doesn't find any evidence of a 'Secret Plan B' to remove Donald as a trustee," the judge said.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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