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Donald Sterling's 'Threats' Not Enough for Restraining Order: Judge

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 20, 2014 1:24 PM

Donald Sterling had a minor win in court, as a judge declined to grant restraining order against him based on alleged threats he made in a call to his estranged wife's attorney.

Pierce O'Donnell, an attorney for Sterling's wife Shelly, told the New York Daily News that he had been threatened over the phone by Sterling, who said he would "take [her] out." O'Donnell perceived this as a threat against his life and proceeded to file for an emergency restraining order against the embattled Clippers owner.

But a judge denied the order, asking all parties to "tone down." Was this just an act of pre-trial hysterics?

Sterling Rants to Doctors About Dementia Diagnosis

The alleged threats at issue included voice mails from Donald Sterling to two doctors who declared that Sterling was mentally incompetent. Shelly Sterling is attempting to sell the Clippers for $2 billion, and her husband's legal status as the team's owner may depend on his mental state.

In the voice mails, Sterling allegedly threatened to have the two doctors fired and have their licenses revoked for releasing much of his personal medical information in the legal battle with his wife.

According to ESPN, Sterling is challenging the diagnosis of two neurologists who determined "he had a form of dementia consistent with Alzheimer's disease" which prevented him from making legal and business decisions. Normally, doctors are prevented from disclosing this sort of personal medical information without permission, but when capacity becomes an issue in a court case, the information may become part of the public record.

Judge: Simmer Down Now

After Shelly Sterling's attorneys filed their motion for an emergency restraining order seeking protection (for the two doctors, O'Donnell, and Shelly), a judge denied the claim and urged both sides to curb the "pre-trial bickering." Donald Sterling's lawyer Bobby Samini told the Daily News that the ruling was an affirmation that "Mr. Sterling is not a danger to anybody."

In order for a restraining order to be granted, there typically must be proof that there is danger to you from the person sought to be restrained. A judge may not have felt that the "threatening" phone conduct by Sterling amounted to anything more than just angry blustering.

The ruling may ultimately be unimportant to Shelly Sterling's case, as her legal team still plans to use the alleged threats in arguing for Donald Sterling's incapacity.

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