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Latest twist in Donald Sterling saga involves a protective order

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Shelly Sterling reportedly has evidence that Donald Sterling and his team of lawyers have harassed witnesses who will testify against him in court.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

In the latest strange twist of the Donald Sterling saga, Shelly Sterling will seek a court order of protection for her, her lawyers and key witnesses from harassment by her estranged husband and his lawyers, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.

Shelly Sterling and her lawyers are set to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday morning to present evidence that witnesses in the Donald Sterling case have been "threatened, intimidated and harassed" by Sterling and his team of lawyers in advance of a court hearing set for July 7-10. These witnesses include doctors who evaluated Donald Sterling and diagnosed him with a form of dementia that rendered him limited when making important decisions.

That diagnosis made Shelly Sterling the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Los Angeles Clippers. She then agreed to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, only to see Donald Sterling challenge the diagnosis of his health and her authority to sell the franchise.

Shelburne reports that for the sale to go through, either Donald Sterling must consent or a court must validate Shelly Sterling as the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust. With this in mind, Shelly Sterling called for the court hearing in early July in order to expedite a ruling on her authority to sell the team.

The sale must close no later than Sept. 15, otherwise the NBA will resume its own attempts to oust Donald Sterling from his ownership post over racist remarks made to a former girlfriend.