The Donald Sterling probate trial to determine the fate of who will own the LA Clippers took an awkward, and somewhat troubling turn today. The trial itself is centered on the issue as to whether Donald’s wife, Shelly Sterling, had the authority to remove Donald as Co-Trustee of the Sterling Family Trust and to then proceed to enter into a deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
USA Today tells us that one particular incident in today’s events in the courtroom stood out above all others. Shelly Sterling took the stand today and testified primarily about her perceptions of Donald’s mental health. After her testimony concluded, she walked close to her seated husband. When Donald Sterling saw Shelly approach, he said, “Stay away from me, you pig.” Mr. Sterling’s outburst was loud enough for the entire courtroom to hear. As a hush descended upon the packed courtroom, the trial’s presiding judge, Michael Levanas, rebuked Donald Sterling when he stated, “Please don’t make any comments about your wife. That’s somewhat disturbing.”
The Washington Post informs us that Steve Ballmer’s attorney, Adam Streisand, was quick to capitalize on Donald Sterling’s outburst when he stated that, “It was a shameful display by a seriously demented tyrant.” USA Today expands on Streisand’s remarks about Sterling’s courtroom antics, “He proved today that he absolutely has to go. And his outburst, yelling at his wife… was just hideous but just revealed how truly demented he is.” Streisand further went on to say [about Donald Sterling], “I think Shelly Sterling is probably correct, that his Alzheimer’s has truly changed his personality, that he’s not the man he used to be.”
USA Today also tells us that Shelly Sterling’s lawyer, Bert Fields had criticism for Donald Sterling’s actions as well, “Today, he was rude to his own lawyer. He was rude to the court.”
Not surprisingly, it was up to Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Bobby Samini, to play damage control. USA Today informs us that Mr. Samini stated that, “Obviously, emotions were really high in the courtroom today. I know that Donald felt very upset by watching her [Shelly Sterling’s] testimony. I think he felt betrayed by it. Obviously not a happy time for him. It’s hard to say much more about it. I don’t think it helps or hurts the case. I don’t think the emotions between a husband and wife are a factor in the case as far as the judge is concerned.”
Donald Sterling’s emotions were likely running high by the time his wife finished testifying. Prior to his wife’s testimony, the two doctors hired by his wife that found him to be mentally incapacitated took the stand. The findings by those physicians permitted Shelly Sterling to have Donald Sterling removed as Co-Trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, resulting in Shelly’s endeavor to coordinate the $2 billion sale of the LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer. Despite today’s raucous courtroom events (The Washington Post gives a detailed account of tweets and reactions to today’s events), the Inquisitr informs us that a new doctor on the scene has found Donald Sterling to be mentally fit. Whether that’s enough to reverse Mr. Sterling’s fortunes or too little too late to prevent Shelly’s sale of the LA Clippers remains to be seen.