Sonics Trial Blog
Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.
June 20, 2008 10:20 AM
Posted by Jim Brunner
Sonics attorney Paul Taylor has been trying to expose former team President Wally Walker's role in a "Machiavellian plan" -- in which he says the city participated -- to force Clay Bennett to sell the team to local owners led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Taylor revealed an until-now secret document called "The Sonics Challenge: Why a Poisoned Well Affords a Unique Opportunity." The document was used at an October 2007 meeting that included Walker, Ballmer, former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick, and former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton. (This document had been sealed up until now.)
"For the best likely outcome, two things have to happen next: Oklahomans have to be willing to sell and the public folks have to do the right thing," the plan said.
It continued: "...the critical path is to separate the NBA from the Oklahomans while increasing the exposure for each."
And it added: "So it's a pincer movement, increasing the Oklahomans' cost in an unpleasant environment while increasing the league's belief that an alternative solution gains it a good new owner and keeps it in a desirable location."
Seattle's lead attorney Paul Lawrence objected to the admission of this document and related ones, arguing there was no proof that Walker was working for the city.
But Judge Pechman Marsha rejected that, pointing to another memo, which Walker signed, that said he began working as a consultant for the city on saving the Sonics as of September 2007.
Lawrence asked, "Can I respond, your honor?"
"No, you've made your argument," Pechman said.
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