News

Sterling calls wife a ‘pig,’ says Clippers not for sale

Sterling calls wife a ‘pig,’ says Clippers not for sale

CLIPPERS CONTROVERSY:Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, leaves a Los Angeles courthouse Monday, July 7. Photo: Associated Press/Nick Ut

By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lashed out at his estranged wife following her court testimony on Wednesday in a trial over the $2 billion sale of the NBA team.

Sterling, 80, who is fighting to scuttle the deal his wife Shelly Sterling negotiated with former Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, lashed out at his wife when she approached him after her testimony.

“Get away from me, you pig!” Sterling growled, startling his wife who had said she moved to gain control of the family trust that owns the Clippers out of concern for his mental health.

“Shelly, how could you lie?” the real estate billionaire added before apologizing to Judge Michael Levanas for disturbing court.

Shelly Sterling, 79, last month asked Los Angeles Superior Court to confirm her as having sole authority to sell the professional basketball franchise after her husband vowed to block the NBA-record sale.

Donald Sterling was banned for life by the NBA in April for private racist remarks that were taped and published

Shelly Sterling testified at the probate trial that she had her husband mentally evaluated after he gave a rambling television interview in May shortly after the ban.

“I couldn’t believe it and I started crying,” Shelly Sterling told the court. “I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe that was him.”

Shelly Sterling had her husband evaluated by two physicians who determined that he has early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and was unable to conduct his own business affairs, handing her control of the trust and the Clippers.

“It was just totally out of context and reality,” Shelly Sterling added while being questioned by her lawyer. “I thought for his health and my own health that he ought to be tested.”

Levanas will decide whether Shelly Sterling acted in accordance with the family trust, and if Donald Sterling’s move to revoke the trust after the deal with Ballmer would invalidate the sale.

Donald Sterling’s attorneys say he was misled by his wife into submitting to medical examinations.

In his second day of testimony, Sterling, who was often combative with his own lawyer questioning him, said that his wife moved to assert authority of the trust because she was afraid that the league would seize the team.

“My wife is terrified, frightened to death. She can’t sleep because she’s afraid the NBA will take everything away,” Sterling said. “Her motivation was that she scared out of her mind. She cried every night.”

The sale to Ballmer has been tentatively approved by the league but must be voted on by other team owners. The trial, however, will not conclude before the deal’s July 15 deadline.

Ballmer can walk away from the agreement at that date or extend it for another 30 days.

His attorney, Adam Streisand, said outside court that he was confident the sale would be completed.

The NBA has said it could seize the Clippers and put the franchise up for auction if the deal is not approved by Sept. 15.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Recent Headlines

5 hours ago in Sports

Cavaliers beat Hawks in series opener

14-overlay-1

A week off did not disrupt the Cleveland Cavaliers' momentum, nor was it enough time to alter the Atlanta Hawks' history against them. The Cavaliers still have never lost to the Hawks in the postseason, but this one was not easy.

5 hours ago in Sports

Murray makes his mark as Pens beat Caps

capsREUTERS

The Pittsburgh Penguins do not have a goal yet in the series from Sidney Crosby. Or a power-play goal. What they do have is a 2-1 lead over the Washington Capitals.

5 hours ago in Sports

British soccer team Leicester celebrates 5,000-1 title success

leichesterREUTERS

Leicester City's Premier League title dream became reality on Monday when one of the greatest sporting fairytales reached its conclusion in west London where chasing Tottenham Hotspur were held 2-2 by Chelsea.

5 hours ago in National

Obama takes Supreme Court fight to Republican senators’ home turf

obamaREUTERS

President Barack Obama on Monday took the political battle over his pick for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court to the home states of seven Republican senators up for re-election in November.

5 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

Hulk Hogan seeks second slam of Gawker over racist comments leak

Terry Bollea, known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, listens while testifying in his case against the news website Gawker at the Pinellas County Courthouse, in St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday, March 7, 2016. Hogan is suing Gawker for $100 million for publishing a video of him having sex with his best friend's wife. (Boyzell Hosey/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)

Hulk Hogan accused Gawker of leaking his racist remarks in a lawsuit filed in Florida on Monday involving a secretly-recorded sex tape of the wrestling celebrity, who recently won $140 million in damages against the media website in a related case.