LOS ANGELES (CN) – Donald Sterling’s ex-girlfriend hit back on social media hours before she testified Thursday in her fight to keep $3.6 million in gifts from the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team.
Shelly Sterling is facing off against her husband’s former girlfriend V. Stiviano in a civil trial that began Wednesday and is expected to conclude Friday.
Shelly Sterling asked the judge to award her $3.6 million for the Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover and a $1.8 million duplex that Donald lavished on Stiviano.
Claiming that her husband gave Stiviano the gifts without her permission, Shelly said in her March 2014 complaint that Stiviano has refused to return them.
The gifts were bought using “community property,” including assets from their real estate company, Beverly Hills Properties, Shelly says.
Taking the stand Thursday afternoon, Stiviano said that she had spent every day of the last two-and-a-half years with Donald Sterling, was his “significant other” and had wanted to marry him.
“I did not have a romantic relationship. We developed a relationship of love,” Stiviano said with Shelly Sterling seated at her counsel’s table nearby.
“He told me he loved me this Sunday when we last spoke,” she said.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell asked Stiviano if she hates his client.
“It’s not fair to say that,” Stiviano said. But in the next breath she called Shelly Sterling an “evil witch,” and said that Donald was under her spell.
Shelly and Donald took the stand on Wednesday afternoon. Donald Sterling said his “ex-friend” did not have “50 cents” to her name.
“She has no money. We’re talking about someone who’s indigent, on relief,” he said. “Her whole family is indigent; all 30 of them are on state aid.”
Shelly Sterling told the court that Stiviano is to blame for ending the Sterlings’ interest in the Clippers, after she leaked her husband’s racially charged comments to TMZ.
“She actually turned in some tapes that took him down, took us both down,” Shelly said.
She said that when she confronted Donald about the Ferrari, he told her he bought the car from an Orange County dealer so that Stiviano could drive him around.
On the stand, Donald said that he “deserved” the sports car and that he put the car under Stiviano’s name because he wanted to avoid liability.
“I didn’t want her to kill someone and I would be sued,” he said, adding that she had put “chickens” in the car.
Sterling, whose doctors diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s last year, asked Shelly’s attorney Caroline Heindel to repeat herself more than once and complained that he does not hear well in one ear.
By the time Stiviano’s attorney Mac Nehoray cross-examined him he appeared to have no problem understanding the lawyer’s questions, though he was often reluctant to answer.
On more than one occasion, Sterling told Nehoray he would respond to questions about his finances only if the court ordered him to.
Stiviano took the stand at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. after unleashing a flurry of comments about Sterling on her Twitter account.
“Donald T. Sterling do you ever give up? Ask yourself what’s the point. You left me in charge of your legacy & now your [sic] crying like a bitch,” Stiviano tweeted.
“I’m un-hurting on Twitter. Let me hurt in peace. That’s the least you can do for me. Donald T. Sterling you hurt me the deepest,” another tweet stated.
During testimony in Thursday morning, Shelly Sterling’s expert, accountant Jay Shapiro, broke down the money trail based on his analysis of Donald Sterling and Stiviano’s financial records.
In addition to the duplex, Sterling spent $400,000 on a Bentley, a Range Rover and the Ferrari for Stiviano, Shapiro testified. She received $1.2 million in cash, and $200,000 was spent on credit cards, the accountant said.
Shapiro said he was “absolutely certain” that Donald Sterling had given the $1.8 million to Stiviano for the duplex, but said that Sterling might have bought her other gifts that he did not know about.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney Stephen Smith showed the court a March 24 tweet on Stiviano’s twitter account in which she wrote: “I have ten million pennies in an overseas bank account.”
Nehoray objected to admission of the tweet.
Stiviano also began to protest but her attorney cut her short by mouthing, “Shut up.” Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin allowed Smith to proceed.
Shapiro said he would give Stiviano’s comment about the overseas money “very little weight.”
“My estimate would be conservative and at the low end of the claims in the case,” Shapiro said of his analysis.
During cross examination, Nehoray suggested that Shapiro had not offered enough evidence to prove that the money had ended up with his client.
“All you can say is that it is not traditional and that someone, somewhere, is getting the money,” Nehoray said.
Shapiro disagreed. The accountant said that “all the coincidences in the world” could not account for the amount of money withdrawn from Sterling’s accounts matching deposits made by Stiviano in hers.
Closing arguments are expected Friday in the bench trial.
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