Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014 11:32 | By Agence France-Presse

Sterling's wife insists she had power to sell Clippers

The wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling insisted she had the power to sell the basketball team, in feisty testimony a day after he called her a "pig" in court.

Sterling's wife insists she had power to sell Clippers

Shelly Sterling, wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, arrives at the Los Angeles Superior Court with her attorney Pierce O'Donnell on July 8, 2014 - by David Mcnew

Shelly Sterling, who is separated from her husband but not divorced, smiled and exchanged pleasantries with lawyers and the judge on Thursday -- but firmly disputed claims by Donald Sterling's lawyer Maxwell Blecher.

The previous day, she had left the court visibly upset by her husband's insults, which included telling her to "Get away from me, you pig!" 

On the fourth day of the trial, Blecher focused his questions on email exchanges between Shelly Sterling's lawyers and a medical expert who diagnosed her husband with Alzheimer's Disease. He tried to show that the expert was conniving with her attorneys.

But Shelly Sterling insisted she knew nothing about the emails, and that her only concern was her husband's health. 

"I wanted to know what was going on with his mood swings, his screaming. There was something wrong," she said, alluding to her husband's anger at Blecher himself. 

"You know how he acted at you in the house," she told the attorney. 

Shelly Sterling explained at length how her husband had given her the power to sell the team, stressing that he had been "happy" and relieved for her to sign a deal with former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion.

Asked if she was surprised when her husband changed his mind and decided not to sell, Shelly Sterling said: "No, that's part of the disease." 

She insisted his power over the family trust could be removed, even without being diagnosed with dementia.

"He gave me a letter telling me to sell the team... I didn't need to remove him as a trustee. He gave me permission to sell the team," she said. 

On Wednesday, Donald Sterling told the Los Angeles Superior Court that he was "deceived" by his wife so that he could be declared mentally unfit, allowing her to sell the Los Angeles Clippers franchise that he has owned since 1981. 

The 80-year-old Sterling was banned from the NBA for life earlier this year following the release of recorded conversations between him and his girlfriend V. Stiviano. 

Sterling is heard on the tape making bigoted comments, criticizing Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and telling her not to bring them to Clippers games.

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