LOS ANGELES: Donald Sterling, who was a no-show in court for the first day of his trial, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for at least three years, a witness told a judge on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The proceedings are to determine if Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly has authority to sell the team, under pressure from the NBA, following racist remarks by Sterling that caused an uproar in America.
Neurologist Dr. Meril Platzer testified that she came to that conclusion after having the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner undergo a battery of tests, including a CT (computerized tomography) scan and a PET (positron emission tomography) scan. She also said she went to his home to perform cognitive testing.
Asked how long Donald Sterling had been suffering from “dementia or Alzheimer’s”, disease Platzer said, “at least for three years, most likely for five years.”
Platzer told US judge Michael Levanas that following two hours of testing, she told Donald Sterling that he had Alzheimer’s and his reaction was, “I’m hungry. I want to eat.”
But Platzer said Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, was shocked by the news.
“She was taken aback, shocked. She felt bad for her husband,” said Platzer, who testified she is an expert in the field of neurology, having examined over 25,000 patients over the course of her career.
The probate court trial is to decide whether Shelly Sterling has legal authority under the family trust to sell the National Basketball Association team for a record $2 billion to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Donald Sterling is seeking to halt the sale being conducted by his estranged wife, arguing that his privacy rights were violated by the release of his medical records.
After several delays in the morning session, testimony in the non-jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court finally got under way. But before that could happen a US federal court judge had to deny Donald Sterling’s bid to move his legal fight with his wife over the sale of the Clippers to a federal court. The decision paved the way for the scheduled four-day trial to proceed.
US federal court judge George Wu denied the motion to move the case to federal court, saying that “to the extent that (Sterling’s) medical records are relevant to the probate hearings, the probate court is more than capable of evaluating them and rendering a decision.”