SEATTLE (AP) -A federal judge denied a request Thursday to allow Seattle's deputy mayor testify in court that he and the mayor's office had no direct knowledge of a plan to inflict financial pain on SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett.
But U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman did allow into the record a deposition by deputy mayor Tim Ceis that he never saw the so-called ``poisoned well'' documents that were presented in court last Friday.
The documents showed that a Seattle group that included former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, whom the city hired to lead its efforts to keep the Sonics in town, sought to have Bennett sell the team to local investors rather than move it to Oklahoma City, his hometown.
Pechman's rulings came on the final day of the six-day trial over whether the Sonics will stay for the final two years of their lease in KeyArena or move to Oklahoma City.
The Sonics believe that Seattle officials have ``unclean hands'' from inappropriately trying to drain the finances of team owners and want the judge to ignore the city's claim that the team must honor a clause of specific performance in its lease to play in the NBA's smallest venue through the 2009-10 season.
The city countered that elected leaders such as the mayor or his office were not aware of the plan.
Thursday morning began with Sonics lawyer Brad Keller finishing his questioning of Seattle Councilman Nick Licata.
Keller repeatedly questioned Licata on his comment to Sports Illustrated magazine in 2006, when he was City Council president, that the Sonics' departure would have a ``near-zero impact'' on the economics and cultural affairs of the city.
``It was a flippant remark, made off the cuff,'' Licata said.
The city has been attempting to show the Sonics have an intangible value to Seattle that cannot be quantified - or compensated by the buyout of the final two seasons of the lease. The team believes a buyout would satisfy the agreement and should free it to move.
Under questioning by city lawyer Greg Narver, Licata admitted he was a ``hard-line critic'' of public financing for professional sports stadiums. Narver then introduced a copy of an e-mail newsletter from Licata to Seattle residents soon after the article was published in which he described his comment to Sports Illustrated as a ``glib, foolish remark'' that was ``smug and wrong.''
``Moments after I said that quote, I realized it probably wasn't accurate ... and I felt bad about that,'' Licata said, adding he heard complaints from some of his constituents.
``Sitting here today, do you believe the cultural value of the Sonics is near zero?'' Narver asked.
``No, I don't,'' Licata said.
The Sonics rested their case 52 minutes into the day, pending their closing arguments. The city rested its case after Pechman's ruling. Closing arguments were set for later in the day, after which Pechman was expected to announce when she will issue her verdict.
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail NBA Rookie of the Year Pick An intriguing NBA rookie class features one deemed “superstar” in Ben Simmons. Will he be the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Yearin the 2016-17 NBA Season?
Thumbnail Durant has theraputic Olympics The biggest free agent of the 2016 offseason is ready to join his new team as Kevin Duranthad a successful experience at the 2016 Rio...
Thumbnail GS favored as schedule released The NBA released the 2016-17 schedule earlier this week. Here is a look at the latest odds to win the NBA Finals.
Thumbnail Dallas brings in ex-Warrior to join icon When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract on June 21, it felt like a slight roadblock to an inevitable reunion between both sides. Little...
Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Team Pages