SEATTLE, Wash. -- (AP) - Testimony began Monday in the City of Seattle's lawsuit seeking to keep the SuperSonics basketball team from moving to Oklahoma City.
After Monday's court session, about 1,000 fans rallied outside the Federal Courthouse in Seattle, waving signs and Sonics flags. They cheered Seattle attorney Paul Lawrence as he left the building, but courthouse security let Sonics owner Clay Bennett avoid the crowd by going through a different exit.
Bennett is expected to testify tomorrow in the trial, which isexpected to last six days.
Earlier Monday, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels testified, saying he's an optimist when it comes to the Sonics, and if the team is forced to stay in Seattle for an additional two years, that would provide additional time to work out a deal to keep them in the area long-term.
The city's lawsuit is seeking to force the NBA franchise to play out the final two years of its lease at Seattle's Key Arena, rather than be allowed to move to Oklahoma City. The NBA has alreadyapproved the move.
The Sonics' owners estimate they will lose $60 million if forced to stay at Key Arena until 2010.