Trial Between City of Seattle and SuperSonics Set to Begin
SEATTLE (AP) - Trial begins tomorrow in the city of Seattle's lawsuit seeking to keep the NBA SuperSonics from moving to Oklahoma City. The six-day, no-jury trial in federal court will settle the final two years of the SuperSonics' lease at Key Arena. Sonics owner Clay Bennett has gained the NBA's approval to move the team to Oklahoma City, but Seattle argues its lease forces the franchise to play two more seasons before departing. The court will distribute 44 courtroom seats for each morning and afternoon session through a public lottery, to satisfy those curious to see firsthand if their city will lose its oldest professional sports team after 41 years. Bloggers will be filing word-by-word accounts from a ceremonial courtroom four floors above the trial room, in an overflow media center that will show proceedings on closed-circuit television. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is scheduled to testify first, and Bennett also may testify tomorrow. Afterwards, former Sonics stars Gary Payton and Xavier McDaniel are scheduled to appear for a "Save Our Sonics!" fan rally in the courthouse plaza.
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