Donald Sterling's wife to seek court protections for witnesses -source

LOS ANGELES Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:44am EDT

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (C), his wife Shelly (L) and actor George Segal attend the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, December 22, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (C), his wife Shelly (L) and actor George Segal attend the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, December 22, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's wife on Thursday will ask a Los Angeles judge to order her husband's attorneys not to harass her legal team and witnesses, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The legal maneuver would be the latest twist in a battle for control of the National Basketball Association franchise since Sterling was banned for life from the league in April after private racist remarks he made were taped and leaked publicly.

Shelly Sterling has asked a probate court to confirm her as the controlling owner of the team after Donald Sterling promised to block the franchise's sale to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer for an NBA record $2 billion.

The source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, said the order would protect potential witnesses, such as physicians who would give testimony that Donald Sterling is not mentally fit enough to run the NBA team, as well as Shelly Sterling and her legal team at the July 7-10 trial.

The source did not give specific allegations of harassment, intimidation or threats by Donald Sterling's attorneys.

Maxwell Blecher, Donald Sterling's attorney, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In May, two physicians deemed that Donald Sterling, 80, was suffering from early Alzheimer's disease, which triggered a clause in the Sterling Family Trust that handed sole control of the Clippers to Shelly Sterling if her husband was mentally unfit to handle the business.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Eric Beech)

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