Shelly Sterling returns to witness stand

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Clippers owner Shelly Sterling returned to the witness stand Thursday and testified that her husband Donald Sterling encouraged her to sell the team for the best price after the NBA banned him from the league.

She said she quickly moved to get bids and updated her husband on a daily basis. She said Sterling said she did a good job when she reported that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had offered $2 billion.

"He was very proud of me," Shelly testified.

She said his mood changed within days, and that he became enraged in a conversation.

Under cross-examination, Shelly repeatedly insisted that she had Sterling undergo a neurological examination because she cared about the welfare of her husband and was concerned with his increasingly erratic behavior. She said she asked her husband to get tested after watching his rambling interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN. The interview aired days after the allegedly racist audiotape was made public.

"I wanted to know what was wrong with his mood swings, yelling, screaming, cussing," Shelly said.

She repeatedly denied accusations that the exams were part of a plot to have Sterling removed from the Sterling Family Trust that controls the Clippers. Two local doctors determined that Sterling suffered from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, but Sterling's attorneys say the doctors were hired and that Sterling agreed to take the tests under false pretenses. They accused Shelly of plotting to take control of the trust in order to sell the team to Ballmer.

"The disqualification of Donald as a trustee was a rigged and corrupted process because these doctors were not independent, they weren't neutral, they were what you would call paid witnesses," Sterling's attorney, Max Blecher, said.

Shelly said the exams weren't part of a plot because Sterling had already agreed to sell the team, and then ultimately changed his mind at the last-minute.

"(NBA Commissioner) Adam (Silver) would have worked with me. But Adam can't put on a paper what he is willing to do if Donald keeps suing and threatening the owners," Shelly testified. "Do you think they were ever going to ever let him back in the league after he said he was going to go find dirt on all the owners?"

Sterling later vowed to never sell the Clippers and spend the rest of his life suing the NBA.

"He's suing the NBA, and he calls us monsters and the worst corporation in America," Shelly's attorney, Bert Fields said. "I think Donald Sterling should not hold his breath waiting for Adam Silver to do any accommodation, either he signs the consent of the sale or we go forward with Judge Levanas' order. There's no more middle ground anymore. Donald Sterling has burned his last bridge."

Sterling was a no-show in court Thursday. The probate trial resumes on July 21. That's when Sterling's attorneys will present their side of the case. The judge has set July 28 as the date for closing arguments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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