Shelly Sterling asked for an emergency motion from a court to protect herself, because her estranged husband, Donald Sterling, has been leaving threatening voicemails on the phones of the two doctors who found him mentally incompetent. Their medical determination allowed Shelly Sterling to take full control of the Sterling Family Trust which owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and therefore sell the team to Steve Ballmer. Donald Sterling also threatened the life of Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, during a phone call.
Judge Michael Levanas denied Shelly Sterling's motion yesterday, saying the voicemails did not reach a "level of great and irreparable injury." Judge Levanas has asked both sides to "tone down the pretrial communication." Sterling is, of course, suing the NBA for $1 billion in damages.
The voicemails Sterling left threatened the doctors' medical licenses, practices, jobs and, arguably, lives. In a voicemail to Dr. Meril Sue Platzer, Sterling called her "a horrible woman" and "nothing but a fraud and a liar and a cheat." He also alluded to suing her for a "large sum" to make sure she loses her medical license. In his voicemail to Dr. James Edward Spar, he used a number of profanities and said, "I'm gonna get you fired from UCLA because you're nothing but a tramp. How dare you let someone use you that way? You know, you rely on doctors. You think that they'll be above it all. But obviously you're not. You'll sell yourself for nothing. How dare you? How dare you give my records to a lawyer for the purposes of using it against me?"
Max Blecher, Donald's Sterling attorney (who is tasked with the extremely hard job of making Sterling look reasonable and sane), said of Donald Sterling's voicemails, "He's got a short fuse [...] that doesn't mean you're incapacitated or nuts. Personally, I think it's a ploy to put us in a bad light. It's all over. Nobody is in any danger."
Donald Sterling's other lawyer (he needs a large legal team for all the mess he has caused), Bobby Samini, continued: "I don't think they're threatening. I think they are a response to having your medical records put out on the Internet. You tell me, if that happened to you, would you pick up the phone and leave a really nice voice mail for your doctor? I'm sure you would not do that."
While initially, Donald Sterling seemed open to the idea of selling the Clippers, he changed his mind recently. There will now be a hearing to determine if Shelly Sterling is legally able to sell the team to Ballmer with Donald's consent.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.