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Sterling v. Sterling 8: Donald 2: Donald Harder

The testimony continues!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, this is TwistNHook from SBN's Cal site, California Golden Blogs. We've been taking a ponder at the impending Sterling trial for the last few weeks. This is part 8 and here are the other first parts:

Part 1:  The Basics

Part 2:  Mental Capacity And The Law

Part 3:  Shelly Sterling's Filings

Part 4:  June 23 Trial Setting Conference

Part 5:  June 30 Trial Setting Conference

Part 6:  Day 1 of the Trial

Part 7:  Day 2 of the Trial

So, yesterday, we had the second day of testimony. In my post yesterday, I outlined the nature of testimony and the Superior Court judge. Just to quickly recap, the Superior Court judge's role is to hear testimony and review evidence. Then, they find facts. They are the finder of facts. If everybody agrees on the facts, then that is great. However, if there is a dispute of fact, then the judge has to consider the disputed facts, give weight to the various witnesses' testimony and determine what the facts are.

So, if Dr. Platzer said she did everything by the book and Donald Sterling says that she was drunk during the medical evaluation, then the Judge has to determine what weight to give the testimony in determining what the true facts are.  If Donald Sterling happens to give a litany of other, rambling, unrelated, inane testimony, then the Judge may be less likely to provide any credence to DTS' testimony and find that the Doctor did everything appropriately.

The first problem we faced was a potential media black out.  Apparently, one of DTS' attorneys complained about all the tweets getting out of his testimony and the mocking that ensued.  The Judge briefly banned tweeting:

However, apparently the LA Times lawyer successfully argued for the return of tweeting and all was right with the world.

Dr. Platzer

If you recall from yesterday's testimony, Dr. Platzer (one of the two doctors that medically evaluated DTS and found him incapacitated) had never provided her file to DTS' lawyers.  The Judge ordered her to turn it over and DTS' lawyers were going to resume cross-examination after reviewing that file.  Was there some smoking gun in there that would help DST out?  It didn't seem like it. There did not seem to be any questioning about specific documents.  Instead, DTS' attorney continued with the argument about breach of privacy rights.

It wouldn't be a day in this trial if DTS' attorneys weren't annoying the Judge

Even the Judge objected to a question by DTS' attorney.

So, nothing really came out of that.  Dr. Platzer defended her right to release the report.  At this point, DTS' attorneys are not arguing over whether he has dementia or whether the report was done appropriately.  They are arguing over whether she had the right to release the information.  What is the purpose of a trust provision based on medical information if nobody can see the medical information?  It is a self-defeating line of argument in my view.  Logically, you could never remove a Trustee for mental incapacity if you follow DTS' arguments here.  Harping on it over and over again has only frustrated the Judge, which is the last thing you would ever want to do.

Donald Sterling

So, on Tuesday, DTS' testimony was barely relevant to the proceedings.  He was caustic and attempted to bully the attorney into submission.  Perhaps that has worked his entire life, but it did not work there.  He came off like a pathetic lunatic.  Could he recover with better testimony today?

In a word, no.


In a series of words, HELL TO DA NAW!

In a combination of letters and numerals, n0

In a gif:


First up was the finalization of the cross-examination by Bert Fields, Shelly's hotshot 85 year old attorney.  It started off with what must have been a sneaky funny moment.

And more gamesmanship

Fields goes after his credibility even more by trying to catch him in a lie.

With that, Fields cross ends and now Max Blecher, DTS' own attorney, starts with direct examination.  Direct examination is usually a time when you can get all the key facts out and help your side.  However, even here, DTS managed to embarrass himself and go off the rails from his own attorney.

It sounds as if he didn't prepare for this very well.  Not sure whether that is the arrogance of DTS thinking he does not need to prepare or a bad job by his attorneys or some of the dementia or what.  Usually you don't want to ask your own client a series of questions where he cannot remember the answer or goes off on rambling speeches.

I should note it is not uncommon for people to get nervous and stressed out when testifying.  There is a lot of pressure associated with that.  However, DTs is not most people.  In his better days, he was a business genius who could probably talk his way through any situation.  Now, it's sad.

He also went after Fields a bit despite Fields not even being involved.

So, take away that stuff and what did DTS testify about.  He did have some relevant testimony.

Note that DTS' assertion that he knows what is in the Trust is directly contradicting a previous line of argument about him not realizing some things were taken out of the Trust.  They had previously argued that language allowing DTS to attack the dementia diagnoses and bring in his own experts had been in the Trust, but was "inadvertently" removed.  They eventually abandoned that line of argument, but DTS' bragging here is the opposite of what he argued earlier.

They talked a lot about the NBA and the scandal over the leaked tapes, which isn't 100% on point, but also not wholly irrelevant.

He had so many rants, the media couldn't keep up.

With that, DTS was done.  The end of an era.  A true golden age!  Up next, Shelly Sterling.

Shelly Sterling

She testified to some information on DTS' mental state from a lay perspective:

She did note that piece of information that is directly relevant.

That makes the judge's job that much easier.  You have two people saying that the Dr. was entirely professional and one bombastic, seemingly untrustworthy person saying that she wasn't.  How hard is it now to ignore DTS' testimony?

After Shelly finished, there was a bit of an altercation.  She got off the stand and DTS yelled at her.

This was odd as previously he seemed happy with her.

But now, it went south.

He eventually defended it as follows.

And that was the end of the day.  The only thing remaining was the Judge noting that they will not meet the July 15 deadline.  That is when the NBA Board Of Governors will meet and could potentially confirm the sale.  However, the September 15 deadline is when the NBA will seize the team if it is not sold.

So, a lot of huffing and puffing and not a lot today, really.  Nothing new from Dr. Platzer.  More inanity from DTS.  Some key testimony from Shelly Sterling denying DTS' allegations.  What are your thoughts on all this?