Trial over $2 bln Clippers sale waits on federal ruling

Mon Jul 7, 2014 4:37pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Monday has delayed the start of a probate trial over the $2 billion sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers until a federal judge decides in which court the case belongs.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas adjourned until Monday afternoon the trial between Clippers co-owners Donald Sterling and his estranged wife Shelly Sterling while waiting on word from U.S. District Court.

"We're going to wait for them to make a decision, and the parties should be ready to proceed, if it's remanded back," Levanas said, adding that the trial was "teed up and in the batter's box ... I'm not inclined to put this off."

Donald Sterling's attorneys in a last-minute action before the July 4th holiday requested that the trial be moved to federal court because they accuse Shelly Sterling of violating her husband's privacy rights by releasing his medical records.

His attorney, Bobby Samini, told the court that it no longer has jurisdiction over the case.

Shelly Sterling, 79, last month asked Levanas to confirm her as having sole authority to sell the pro basketball franchise to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer after Donald Sterling vowed to block the NBA-record sale.

Donald Sterling, 80, was banned for life by the NBA in April for racist remarks he made privately that were taped and published during the Clippers' playoff run.

The real estate billionaire's comments imploring a girlfriend not to associate with black people sparked public outrage, caused sponsors to cut ties with the team while players considered a boycott.   Continued...

Shelly Sterling, 79, (L) arrives at court with her lawyer Pierce O'Donnell in Los Angeles, California July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson