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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 26, 2008 11:15 AM

City OK with Ceis not testifying

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Neither side was upset with the ruling that Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis won't testify.

Paul Taylor, an attorney for the Sonics, argued that to allow Ceis to testify now, on the final day of the trial, about communications with the law firm retained by the city, it deprived the Sonics of its opportunity for discovery.

Paul Lawrence, the city's lead attorney, argued that attorney-client privilege had not been asserted with respect to the things Ceis would be testifying about.

Judge Marsha Pechman said she was not going to allow Ceis to testify because there was no evidence the attorney-client privilege had been waived in the record.

"You can not use the privilege as a shield and then turn around and use it as a sword," Pechman said. "You have to decide early on if you’re going to keep matters privileged or offer them up. In this instance, the city never designated the scope of the privilege they wish to waive or decline."

Lawrence, the city's attorney, said he was satisfied with the decision because Pechman accepted the stipulation from Ceis' sworn April 2008 deposition in which he said he had never seen the "Poisoned Well" PowerPoint (distributed at former Sonics President Wally Walker's home in October 2007) until the deposition.

Also entered into evidence was the letter in which the city retained the services of the K&L Gates law firm in September 2007. The letter stated explicitly that former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and Gerry Johnson were engaged in a separate effort to retain professional basketball in Seattle. Lawrence termed this a "carve out," which showed the firm was involved in a separate effort that related to the team -- one that did not involve the city at all.

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July 2008

June 2008

Recent stories

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2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
Ward: "Are we doomed to have another lameduck season in Seattle?" (PDF)
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