LOS ANGELES (AP) Testimony ended Wednesday in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling’s estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers in a proposed $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Shelly Sterling, who had testified early in the trial, was expected to be the final witness, but her husband’s lawyers decided not to call her back to the stand.
Instead, they called Dr. Jeffrey Cummings to discuss the protocol of examinations such as the ones given to Donald Sterling to determine his mental competency and ability to act as owner.
Most of his testimony drew objections from Shelly Sterling’s attorneys, and the judge said he didn’t see how it would help him reach a decision.
The trial will not be in session for the rest of the week. The two sides are scheduled to return for closing arguments on Monday.
Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas reminded Sterling’s lawyers that both sides had agreed not to make Donald Sterling’s mental capacity an issue in the trial.
Levanas said he was surprised when the lawyers made that move, and that he would have been interested in hearing about Donald Sterling’s mental competency.
Given that decision by lawyers, the judge rejected most of Cummings’ testimony and refused to receive the psychiatrist’s report submitted by the Sterling lawyers.
Outside court, attorneys for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer said that if they win, they will ask the judge to allow the sale to go through immediately in spite of any appeals that might be filed.
Sterling’s lawyers said they intend to seek an injunction to stop the sale if the judge rules against them. They have filed their own lawsuit in state court against Shelly Sterling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league.
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.
Sterling deputized his wife to negotiate the sale. But then he changed his mind and said he would fight the sale and spend the rest of his life suing the NBA.
Shelly Sterling went to probate court to ensure that the sale she negotiated with Ballmer would go through.
The trial was full of emotion and drama, especially for a probate-court trial to determine technical legal and financial questions.
Most of the fireworks came from Donald Sterling, who shouted at attorneys for both sides, denounced the NBA and its commissioner for trying to oust him from the league over racist recordings, and at one point called Shelly Sterling a “pig” as she left the witness stand.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Even as dementia began to rob him of some of his fondest memories over the past few years, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen reported to work every day to oversee multimillion-dollar upgrades to the team’s training facilities and roster.
So his absence from Dove Valley headquarters on Wednesday as players reported for physicals on the eve of training camp was as jarring as the announcement that the 70-year-old Bowlen was giving up control of the team because of Alzheimer’s disease.
“This place will never be the same,” a choked-up general manager John Elway said. “… It’s going to be very hard to not see him walk through the front doors every day.”
Yet, Elway and team president Joe Ellis pledged to continue Bowlen’s legacy and winning culture he fostered during his long stewardship of the franchise.
Ellis is adding the title of chief executive officer and will have final say on all matters.
“Mr. Bowlen has entrusted Joe to take his spot and he couldn’t have appointed a better guy to step in for Pat,” Elway said. “Joe’s a guy that bleeds orange and blue.”
Ownership of the franchise is held in a trust Bowlen set up more than a decade ago in hopes that one of his seven children will one day run the team, Ellis said Bowlen asked him to run that trust.
Elway, who brought Bowlen two Super Bowl rings during his Hall of Fame playing career, demurred when asked if he aspired to one day own the team.
“That family owns the Broncos. Pat Bowlen still owns the Broncos. We have total respect for that,” Elway said. “They’ve hired me to run the football operations and I’m thrilled to do that. I work for Pat still, as well as the Bowlen family, and I’m going to continue to do that.”
Ellis said that with Bowlen no longer able to run the team, the community and fan base deserved to know what was going on, so the family agreed to make public the condition he’s dealt with privately for several years.
“Alzheimer’s has taken so much from Pat, but it will never take away his love for the Denver Broncos and his sincere appreciation for the fans,” Bowlen’s wife, Annabel, said in a statement.
After acknowledging in 2009 that he suffered short-term memory loss, Bowlen stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2011 when he promoted Ellis to president. For the first time this offseason, Ellis represented the Broncos at the annual owners meetings.
Under Bowlen’s guidance, the Broncos won six AFC titles and two Super Bowls. At 307-203-1, Bowlen and New York Giants founder Tim Mara are the only three-decade owners in pro football history to win 60 percent of their games.
The Broncos’ 186 home victories are the most in the NFL since he bought the team in 1984, when Elway was his quarterback, and the Broncos’ five losing seasons during those 30 years are the fewest in the league over that span.
Bowlen was known as much for his humility as his competitive fire, doing his best to stay out of the spotlight even as he built a winning culture and a fan base that extends throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
He was instrumental in the league’s explosive growth at its longtime chairman of the broadcast committee, Ellis said, and Elway said Bowlen deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I’d love (his bust) to be right next to mine,” Elway said.
When Elway brought Bowlen his first of consecutive championships in the late 1990s, the owner took the Lombardi Trophy in his hand at center stage after an epic win over heavily favored Green Bay and declared, “This one’s for John.”
“That was the highlight of my career,” Elway said Wednesday.
Bowlen’s affable style endeared him to employees and players alike.
When Bowlen received the Mizel Institute’s 2013 Community Enrichment Award, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe said: “I would be hard-pressed to believe that there’s an owner that cares more about his city, about his state, about his players than Mr. Bowlen does.”
Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman said at that same event he realized Bowlen was a different type of owner when he signed up for a turkey in his first Thanksgiving in Denver, thinking it was all a joke.
“Then I come into the locker room and there’s Pat sticking turkeys into our lockers,” Zimmerman recounted.
During Peyton Manning’s whirlwind free agency tour in 2012, Zimmerman said, he knew any other teams pursuing the four-time MVP were just wasting their time.
“I knew he’d be a Bronco before he did,” Zimmerman said, “because once he visited here and met with Mr. Bowlen, I knew there was no way he could go anywhere else.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has agreed to a contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs announced the deal Wednesday night.
The two-year extension runs through the 2017 season, a person familiar with the contract said on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t disclose terms of the contract.
The six-year NFL veteran ran for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last year to help the Chiefs reach the playoffs. He also had 70 catches for 693 yards and seven more TDs as Kansas City went 11-5 before losing to Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.
“Jamaal is an elite player in the National Football League,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement released by the team. “It was important for us to keep him here in Kansas City long-term.”
Charles was expected to take part in the first practice scheduled for Thursday.
“I had no intention on holding out,” Charles tweeted. “I just ran out of gas on the way to camp and my cellphone battery died. It was a long walk I tell ya.”
Charles comes off a season with career highs in yards from scrimmage (1,980), rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Charles’ earned a base salary of $1.75 million in 2013, according to NFLPA records. He was set to earn a base salary of $2.65 million, which ranked 11th among NFL running backs, before the contract extension. Various media reports, including from NFL.com and ESPN, put Charles’ two-year extension at $18 million.
With Charles secured through 2017, the Chiefs can shift focus to quarterback Alex Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston, both of whom enter the final years of respective contracts.
Smith, 30, comes off a season where he completed 308-of-508 passes for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He established career highs in rushing attempts (70) and yards (431), and became the second quarterback in team history to start the season with nine consecutive wins.
Smith reported Sunday with rookies and quarterbacks and put in two morning practices before being excused from Wednesday’s practice. The Chiefs’ second-year quarterback attended voluntary organized activities and mandatory minicamp.
The same can’t be said of Houston, who missed the Chiefs’ offseason workout program. Houston is expected to report for training camp, however.
“From what I hear, he’s going to be here,” outside linebacker Tamba Hali said. “We’re going to get it rocking again – Sack City. Whatever happened in the offseason, we put all of that behind us. He’s here to play football just like every other man. That’s our concern – get to that quarterback.”
Houston, 25, comes off his second straight Pro Bowl selection and finished the season with 11 sacks in 11 games. He and Hali combined for 22 sacks in 2013.
Houston is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which pays him a base salary of $1.4 million. His 26.5 sacks since 2011 matches Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews’ sack production during that span.
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta and AP freelance writer Herbie Teope contributed to this report.