Basketball / Sports

Donald Sterling loses court battle to prevent sale of Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- Judge Michael Levanas allowed the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to go forward Monday afternoon, ruling in favor of Shelly Sterling on all three counts in a probate court trial against Donald Sterling.

The ruling in Los Angeles Superior Court included an extraordinary order that essentially renders any appellate court intervention meaningless.

Levanas made the announcement after almost two hours of closing arguments between lawyers for Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling.

Shelly Sterling was successful in having the judge uphold the removal of her husband as trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, on grounds of mental incapacitation. The ruling clears the way to implement her May agreement to sell the franchise to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

During the morning's closing arguments, Max Blecher, an attorney for Donald Sterling, accused Shelly Sterling of "an invidious scheme to strip Donald Sterling of his ownership rights of the Clippers."

With a raised voice and waving arms, Blecher, calling the situation "unconscionable" and "devious," described NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as a co-conspirator with Shelly Sterling.

Pierce O'Donnell, representing Shelly Sterling, dismissed Blecher's assertion, saying, "This was an argument for the media, not for the court."

Earlier, O'Donnell put the case in simple terms.

"The doctors certified Donald as incapacitated. That's the end of the matter," O'Donnell said.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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