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Donald Sterling trial delayed, banned owner nowhere to be found

Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches his team play in Los Angeles Oct. 17, 2010.
Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches his team play in Los Angeles Oct. 17, 2010.
Mark J. Terrill/AP

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Update 3:45 p.m.: 

A judge has refused to shift the Donald Sterling trial to federal court.

Monday's ruling means the trial can now begin in state court on whether Sterling's estranged wife had authority to negotiate a $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Shelly Sterling struck the deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as team owner.

Two doctors declared her husband mentally incapacitated — and thus unable to take a role in the sale.

But his lawyers claimed there were medical privacy violations and asked for the change of venue. His wife's lawyers claim that was just a tactic to run out the clock on the Clippers sale.

NBA owners are supposed to vote on the deal on July 15.

Previously: A jurisdictional issue has delayed the start of a Los Angeles County Superior Court trial over whether the estranged wife of Donald Sterling has the authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The 80-year-old banned owner of the NBA franchise did not appear in court on Monday and his whereabouts are unknown. Now attorneys for Donald Sterling filed a motion seeking to move the case to federal court.

The Superior Court judge agreed the case must await a decision by a federal judge on the motion. Parties have been told to return to court at 11 a.m. PDT.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the team's sale after doctors examined her 80-year-old husband and declared him mentally incapacitated, ousting him as a trustee of the family trust that owns the Clippers.

KPCC Business Reporter Ben Bergman joins Take Two to share an update on where the case stands and what is currently at stake.

With contributions from The Associated Press.