Basketball / Sports

Donald Sterling verbally attacks NBA, lawyer in trial testimony

LOS ANGELES--Donald Sterling assailed the NBA, attacked two doctors who declared him mentally incapacitated and ridiculed opposing lawyer Burt Fields during almost an hour of rambling, contentious testimony Tuesday afternoon.

Sterling took the stand in the second day of the trial in Los Angeles Superior Court that could determine whether he remains Los Angeles Clippers owner.

In a sweltering courtroom without an empty seat, the 80-year-old Sterling called the 85-year-old Fields a "smartass," told him to "stand up and be a man" and insisted every minute or two that the attorney needed to speak up.

"I thought you were going to make me cry," Sterling told Fields, part of the team representing Shelly Sterling. "Isn't that what you said in the paper?"

Sterling didn't deviate from his decades-long reputation as a difficult witness. He repeatedly claimed not to remember facts. He tried to take control of the proceedings, telling Fields when to ask questions. He shifted from tears to sharp words in an instant. He objected to questions. He left the courtroom laughing and, at times, gasping while Judge Michael Levanas tried to maintain control.

"You're wrong, like you've been wrong on every question today," Sterling told Fields.

"How can you be wrong when you ask a question?" Levanas said.

Sterling claimed he can sell the Clippers for $2.5 billion to $5 billion, more than the $2 billion Steve Ballmer agreed to pay in the deal negotiated by Shelly Sterling.

Donald Sterling also testified that his wife represented the two competency exams to him as routine appointments to be done in conjunction with his 80th birthday. Shelly Sterling didn't appear to make eye contact with her husband until his testimony began.

"She's terrified and frightened of this NBA that threatened to take everything away from her," Donald Sterling said. "She's a good person, but they're not good people."

He started crying, apologized and his voice immediately turned combative. Minutes later, he said his wife "can't run anything."

Sterling's testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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