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Sonics Trial Blog

Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.

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June 20, 2008 6:08 AM

Day 4 scorecard; and coming today: Wally Walker and someone who wants to buy the Sonics

Posted by Jim Brunner

KEY WITNESS: Seattle's lawyers certainly put a passionate Sonics fan on the stand Thursday when they called writer Sherman Alexie, winner of the National Book Award. But was he really the best fan representative? Alexie's gushing, theatrical testimony compared NBA players with figures from Greek mythology -- with LeBron James as Hercules (we hear he's cleaning out poop from some cow stables this off-season). Alexie also had a beef with how he had been treated by Sonics staff since Clay Bennett bought the team. At one season-ticket holder event, Alexie testified, Bennett's people failed to offer him cucumber sandwiches or popcorn like he'd been served in the past. Staff members also failed to recognize him -- Sherman Alexie! -- by sight. The Sonics' lead attorney "apologized" to Alexie before cross examination. "I'm sorry that the locker guy didn't know who you are, I am sorry there wasn't popcorn when you came in the door," said Brad Keller. Seattle attorney Michelle Jensen stood up: "Your honor, I will object. He is mocking the witness." Keller responded: "I am not."

OBJECTION SCORECARD: Seattle continues to lose the objection war by a huge margin not unlike that last game of the NBA Finals. At times, Judge Marsha Pechman has been downright mocking, particularly of city lawyer Jeffrey Johnson of K&L Gates, who has scored a few points, but can come across like a nice fellow who wandered into the wrong courtroom.

MR. CONFIDENT: Sonics lead attorney Keller apparently thinks his case is going so well he asked Pechman whether she wanted him to do his closing arguments today (Friday) -- instead of waiting until next week. Seattle's lead attorney, Paul Lawrence, meanwhile, was pleading Thursday with the judge to allow two rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments start.

UP TODAY: The Sonics hope to call former Sonics President Wally Walker and Seattle developer Matt Griffin -- both of whom are likely to be interrogated about their participation in what Clay Bennett's lawyers have called a "Machiavellian plan" to force Bennett to lose so much money at KeyArena that he'll have to sell the team. The final witness for the Sonics will be Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, who famously told Sports Illustrated a couple years ago that the impact of the Sonics' departure would be "close to zero." Sonics fans got mad at him for that and he apologized. But now Bennett likes Licata's assessment. Or at least his lawyers do.

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July 2008

June 2008

Recent stories

Sonics attorneys focus on city's "poisoned well" plan
Bennett says Sonics could lose $60 million if forced to stay in Seattle 2 more years
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2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
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Bennett's e-mail to Stern: "You are just one of my favorite people on earth" (PDF)
Clay Bennett and Sonics' court filing (PDF)


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Other links

Trial coverage from | Hope (still) springs in Seattle