A judge has asked lawyers for more legal documents arguing their points before he decides whether to approve the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Shelly Sterling is trying to sell the team without the consent of her estranged husband, Donald, after doctors who examined him said he lacks the mental capacity to decide such matters.
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The judge said the Sterling Family Trust does not allow the billionaire to contest medical findings which are sufficient to remove him as a trustee. But he agreed to consider arguments at a hearing June 30 before a scheduled July 7 trial.
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Donald Sterling is trying to kill the deal because he doesn’t want to sell the team, his lawyer acknowledged.
"He doesn't want to sell the team,” said Bobby Samini, Donald Sterling's attorney. “He never planned on selling the team."
Donald Sterling is trying to put off the trial until August instead of July 7.
Timing is everything in this case, considering the NBA's deadline of Sept. 15 to sell the team.
Shelly Sterling's attorneys argued any delay in a decision over who has the right to sell the Clippers, increases the chance the $2 billion deal she negotiated with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, will fall through.
"There a serious risk if the NBA seizes the team on Sept. 16 and has a public auction, that you won't get $2 billion," said Pierce O'Donnell, Shelly Sterling's attorney.
But in court papers, Donald Sterling's attorneys are claiming the value of the team will only increase with time, while admitting he's going to keep fighting to keep the team.
The team is held in a Sterling family trust, which says if one of the trustees is found mentally incapacitated by two doctors, they can be forced out.
Shelly Sterling had her husband examined by two doctors who found him incapacitated and is using that to argue she has the right to sell the team, but her husband is fighting back.
“We think that there are serious issues with the trust document itself, with the way that the examinations were done, particularly with our client’s medical records being disseminated to the entire world," Samini said.
Ballmer's attorney said the longer this drags on, the less certain Clippers players and coaches are about staying with the team.