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Shelly Sterling seeks protections for witnesses

Image

Mark J. Terrill / Assocated Press

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sits with his wife, Shelly, during a Clippers game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles.

Updated Thursday, June 19, 2014 | 12:03 a.m.

LOS ANGELES — Shelly Sterling's attorneys will ask a judge Thursday to order Donald Sterling and his attorneys to stop threatening, harassing or intimidating his wife's legal team and the doctors who determined the Los Angeles Clippers' co-owner was mentally incapacitated.

A person with knowledge of the legal proceedings told the Associated Press that the urgent request seeks protections for witnesses including three doctors who could testify in next month's scheduled trial to determine if Shelly Sterling can sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

The individual wasn't authorized to comment and spoke to the Associated Press on Wednesday night on condition of anonymity.

Donald Sterling's attorney, Maxwell Blecher, said a representative will be in court but wouldn't comment further. Representatives for Shelly Sterling and her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, declined to comment.

Shelly Sterling's potentially record-breaking deal with Ballmer was struck after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were recorded and publicized. The NBA moved to oust him as team owner, fined him $2.5 million and banned him for life.

O'Donnell said doctors determined the 80-year-old Sterling was mentally "incapacitated" thereby making his wife the sole administrator of the family trust, which owns the team, according to its terms. But Donald Sterling is fighting that contention and Shelly Sterling's authority to sell. The deal would need to be approved by the NBA's owners.

The decision to go to court Thursday was precipitated by several incidents in which Donald Sterling's attorney or Donald Sterling himself contacted the two doctors who examined him in May and determined him to be mentally incapacitated, the individual said. A third doctor reviewed their findings and the brain scans and reached the same conclusion.

Donald Sterling's attorney sent letters to Dr. James E. Spar and Dr. Meril S. Platzer warning that they'd released his medical records in violation of his privacy rights and that they should put their insurance carriers on notice and have their legal counsel contact him, the individual said.

Another individual with knowledge of the legal proceedings said Donald Sterling personally left aggravated voicemails for both doctors alleging they violated his rights. The voicemails were characterized as threatening and intimidating. The individual wasn't authorized to speak and insisted on anonymity

The terms of the trust, released in court documents, state that both parties agree to waive the doctor-patient privilege with respect to the results of an examination for incapacitation.

Donald Sterling is also suing the NBA for $1 billion in federal court and alleges the league violated his constitutional rights, committed breach of contract and violated antitrust laws. He has hired four private investigations firms to dig up dirt on the NBA's former and current commissioners and its owners, according to a person familiar with Donald Sterling's legal strategy.

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