Transcript courtesy of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, did that recording capture the real Donald Sterling, or was he being set up?
He has very strong opinions on that, as he tried to answer the fundamental question, is he a racist?
DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: I’m not a racist.
I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I have hurt. And I have hurt so many people, so many innocent people.
And I have hurt myself. You know, I spoke to a girl that I was fond of. And I don’t know why I can never — when I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I could say words like that.
I’m not a racist. I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth, I guess. And I’m so sorry. And I’m so apologetic.
COOPER: What are you sorry about?
STERLING: Well, I’m sorry that so many people are hurt.
My little grandchild goes to a Catholic nursery. And they were passing around candy to everybody. When they got to her, they said, “We don’t give candy to racists,” 7 to 9.
So it hurts me.
I hurt my ex-wife. She is a beautiful person. She goes to the hospital, and she’s a volunteer at Cedars-Sinai. When I went to law school, she worked at the children’s hospital. She’s a giver. She works. At this stage in her life, she still works.
She didn’t need this. Her whole life blew up.
COOPER: Are you talking about Shelly?
STERLING: Shelly, yes.
I never dreamt that this could happen. It’s a terrible, terrible nightmare.
COOPER: Let me ask you. Let’s start about talking about the tape.
Did you know you were being recorded?
STERLING: No, of course not. Of course not, no.
COOPER: Do you know when it was recorded? Were you together in a room with V. Stiviano?
STERLING: Yes. Well, I remember some of the dialogue in a living room. I don’t know when.
COOPER: So, it was just you and her in the room?
STERLING: And just the two of us, yes.
COOPER: You — so you didn’t know she was recording or there was a recording device?
STERLING: No, I didn’t know she was recording. And she was talking so strange, all of the sudden about politics.
But I want to explain a couple things that I said. One of the things that I said was, don’t bring blacks to my game. Well, there’s 25 percent of my whole game are black people. And I love them.
She would always use the word black. “That’s a black girl. That’s a black guy. This is black. That is black.”
So, when she said to me, “I’m going to bring four gorgeous black guys to the game,” players she was referring to, either football or basketball, I was a little jealous, maybe. And I —
COOPER: When did she say that?
STERLING: Just — just before. And I said to her, don’t bring them to the game, because of my jealousy.
I mean, in any event, she never brought anybody to the game. It was like she was baiting me just to say things.
COOPER: So, you’re saying she, before the recording that we heard, she had said she was going to bring four black players, and she specifically said black players?
COOPER: And you’re saying that’s what this conversation sparked from, stemmed from?
And so I used her words. I mean, I really have to apologize to all the people that have been hurt. For them to hear that I — that I’m a possible racist is so painful to me, because I’m not a racist, and I have never been a racist. It’s not me.
COOPER: When you saw them take off their — wear their warmup jerseys reversed, so that the name Clippers wasn’t on in that first game, what did you think?
STERLING: I really didn’t pay attention to that. They are Clippers. And they are mine, and I’m theirs. That’s how I feel.
I would do anything for them. I made a mistake. I hope it’s in their heart to forgive me for that mistake.
COOPER: When you say that “they’re mine” —
STERLING: I didn’t mean it. I said a few words. I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.
COOPER: You’re saying you were set up.
STERLING: Well, yes. I was baited. I mean, that’s not the way I talk.
I don’t talk about people, for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things, but I don’t talk about people.
COOPER: Do you know how the tape got released?
COOPER: Do you think she did it?
STERLING: It’s — I don’t know.
I mean, I — an 80-year-old man is kind of foolish. And I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 50 years, 51 years over — older than her, I was deluding myself.
COOPER: Were you in a relationship with her, an intimate relationship?
STERLING: Well, I don’t know what you mean by intimate.
COOPER: She says you weren’t. She told Barbara Walters that you were not.
STERLING: Well —
COOPER: That she is your protector, she’s your right hand.
STERLING: I don’t think a gentleman should discuss his — any of the personal items that go on with a woman. And I don’t want to answer that particular question.
COOPER: Do you trust her? Do you trust her now?
STERLING: No, I don’t trust her.
And I just wish I could ask her why and if she was just setting me up. I think that people say she was taping me for two years. So, maybe I was just fooling myself thinking for two years that she cared for me. She certainly acted like it.
COOPER: Her lawyer had made a statement that she was your archivist.
STERLING: What does that mean?
COOPER: That —
STERLING: I mean, too young for archives.
COOPER: You don’t want to have your story written just yet?
COOPER: So, you didn’t know the tape was being made. When you first heard that the tape was released, did you automatically remember making those statements?
STERLING: No. No.
COOPER: She — a lawyer of hers claims that she gave some of the recordings to friends, and that one of the friends sold it to TMZ. Do you believe that?
STERLING: I really don’t know.
I don’t really want to talk about her. I want to talk about me and the mistakes that I made. And I want to correct them.
COOPER: OK. Well, let’s talk about you then. Let’s talk about the tape itself.
STERLING: Because —
COOPER: Let’s talk about the actual statements.
STERLING: I’m responsible.
I wanted to apologize also to my partners. I have 29 partners in a league that’s a wonderful league. I respect them. And I love every owner. Every owner knows me. I love the commissioner.
I’m sure that it’s — it’s terribly difficult for him to impose severe punishment, because he knows me so well. But here he is trying his best.
The league actually believes in doing everything in their power to eliminate it, you know, racism. And, here, he’s sitting there behind his desk, I guess, and this explosion comes on his desk. And I feel bad that I caused it.
COOPER: Well, we’re going to talk a lot more about the league’s reaction.
Something I pressed Donald Sterling on was his claim that it wasn’t about race; he was just jealous that this woman he was interested in was bringing other guys to games.
I pointed out that, on the recordings, he doesn’t say “other guys.” He specifically says “black guys.”
We will hear his response to that next.
And, later, something we did not expect: Sterling comments about why Magic Johnson is, in Sterling’s opinion, no role model.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles, that he would go and do what he did and then get AIDS. I mean, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is the first time that Donald Sterling has spoken publicly on the record since he was banned from the NBA for making racist comments.
In Sterling’s analysis, he’s not a racist; he was just jealous because the woman he was interested in was bringing other guys to the games.
That also seemed to be his defense in a phone call that was released to Radar Online last week.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STERLING: What the hell? I’m talking to a girl. The girl is black. I like her. I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her.
So, what the hell? Can I tell her in private, you know, I don’t want you to be with anybody else?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: I wanted to hear more from Sterling about this idea that it was jealousy, not racism, that motivated him.
Take a listen.
COOPER: Here’s what I don’t understand.
I get you were saying you were jealous, you didn’t want her being seen with other guys. You didn’t want her being —
STERLING: Not — not seen.
COOPER: You didn’t want her being photographed, photographed with other guys. You thought she was kind of throwing it in your face.
That seems to be what you’re saying.
STERLING: Did you ever like a girl or were you ever jealous of her a little bit if she was with other guys? It isn’t that I didn’t want her to be photographed or I didn’t want her — I don’t know where photographs —
COOPER: But you were jealous?
STERLING: — go into it.
I admit I was jealous. And it was stupid.
COOPER: The thing is, though, what you were saying wasn’t, I don’t want you to be seen with other guys. You were saying, I don’t want you seen with black guys.
STERLING: Because she used the word black guys. “I’m bringing some gorgeous black guys.”
COOPER: But, in the tape, you’re the one who bring — brings up — you say that friends of yours are calling you up, saying — telling her she’s bringing black guys to the games. You say — and let me just read you, so you can respond.
STERLING: But it’s all —
STERLING: It’s convoluted.
COOPER: She says, “Then why are you taking” — you say, “Why are you taking pictures with minorities? Why?”
Later on, you say: “It bothers me a lot you want to broadcast you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
And she says, “You associate with black people.”
He says: “I’m not you. You’re not me. You’re supposed to be a delicate white or delicate Latino girl.”
The question then is, why does being seen with a black guy not make her a delicate white or delicate Latino girl?
STERLING: I can’t explain some of the stupid, foolish, uneducated words that I uttered. I don’t know.
You know, you start. You get upset and you say things.
COOPER: One other thing you said, you said: “I’m just saying, in your lousy ‘expletive’ Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself walking with black people. You don’t have to. If you want to, do it.”
If you —
STERLING: It doesn’t make sense. I don’t care. I didn’t care.
COOPER: Would it have been OK with you if she was bringing a white person to a game?
STERLING: She brought — she had four seats. She brought a lot of people.
I don’t understand why in the world I had — I said any of those stupid, uneducated remarks, because I really don’t care who she brought to the game. I was more interested in the game. I was a little jealous, I have to admit.
But I don’t know — I don’t know why I said stupid things.
COOPER: For a lot of people, though, these comments that were caught on tape do echo other charges that have been made in the past, as you know, by Elgin Baylor, in other lawsuits.
STERLING: No, no, no, no, no. You’re trying to connect them.
COOPER: No, I’m not.
STERLING: Elgin Baylor has nothing to do with — with — what the things I said 20 years later.
COOPER: Well —
STERLING: What did it have to do?
COOPER: Well, Elgin Baylor made a claim that you had a plantation mentality.
STERLING: Well —
COOPER: And then, now, in this thing, you’re saying you feed these guys who —
STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do.
You know what? And I think you’re more of a racist than I am.
COOPER: How so?
STERLING: Because I’m not a racist, and I have never been a racist, and I will never be a racist.
I don’t know what that means to have a mentality. You’re asking me about questions. What do you mean a mentality?
COOPER: Well, to have a plantation mentality is to feel like you own these guys, they are working for you.
STERLING: Well, do I — do I own them?
COOPER: I don’t know.
STERLING: My players earn $100 million a year. Do I own them?
COOPER: But, in this tape, you’re saying —
STERLING: Some of them own $50 million a year.
COOPER: In this tape, you’re saying: “I support them. I give them food and clothes and cars and houses.”
STERLING: Well, I think I create opportunities for them, so they can make $100 million.
I don’t give them anything, believe me. And those players could get that same amount of money anywhere else.
COOPER: You acknowledge they earn that?
STERLING: Of course they earn it. And they work harder than any other sport.
COOPER: Well, Donald Sterling says that he has tons of support. He says the players still love him, and it’s just the media that wants him out of the NBA.
We will have that part of the interview next.
And, later, this is probably the most surprising part of our conversation, Donald Sterling — Sterling pretty much trashing Magic Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he has — he’s a businessperson. He —
STERLING: He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? I would like — did he help anybody in South L.A.?
COOPER: In the opinion of Donald Sterling, it seems, his downfall is a big result of the media. He told me that the players still love him, he has tons of support, he says, and that the NBA doesn’t necessarily want him out.
The question is, is he in denial? You can decide that for yourself.
Here’s how Sterling responded when I pointed out that the players on his team say they do not want to work for him.
D. STERLING: Let me just say that I apologized to the league.
People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to have to hire a wall of lawyers and go to war. I don’t think that’s the answer.
COOPER: So, what is — what are you going to do?
D. STERLING: I think the answer is, the league is a good league, all honest people. And I think that whatever they decide that has to be done, I think I should work with them and do it.
COOPER: Well, the NBA says they want you out. Are you willing to give up ownership of the Clippers?
D. STERLING: Well, I’m not sure that’s what they want.
COOPER: That is what they want.
D. STERLING: Well, that’s your opinion, and that’s what the media says.
I’m a good owner. I have a good team. There are people that want to buy my team, but because the media says that the owner want me out doesn’t mean that they want me out.
COOPER: Have you talked to any of the owners, any of the other owners?
D. STERLING: I have talked to some of the owners.
COOPER: Have any of them supported you and said that they don’t want you out?
D. STERLING: Of course they support me. They can’t understand why I would say that. I can’t understand why I would say that.
COOPER: You’re saying there are some owners of NBA teams who want you to remain the owner of the Clippers?
D. STERLING: I don’t speak for the league or for the owners. They speak for themselves.
COOPER: But have any owners told you that?
D. STERLING: I didn’t ask them. I have — I embarrassed the league. I humiliated them. I don’t know how, why I did it. I mean, it’s so terrible. And I just…
COOPER: So, you don’t believe, though, that the owners would vote to have you removed as owner?
D. STERLING: I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
COOPER: If they did, would you fight that in court?
D. STERLING: We’re not there yet, so why should I, you know, address that issue?
COOPER: You haven’t thought about it?
D. STERLING: I don’t want to fight with my partners, you know?
We all what we have to do in life.
D. STERLING: I love them and I respect them. And whatever their decision is with regard to the disposition of my terrible words, then I have to do it, I think.
The players don’t hate me. The sponsors don’t hate me.
COOPER: You don’t believe the players…
D. STERLING: The fans don’t hate me. The media hates. The media — it’s all the media pushing it. I mean…
COOPER: You really — honestly, you really believe that it’s just the media?
D. STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent.
People call me by the thousands and give me support.
COOPER: You don’t think players…
D. STERLING: They don’t say I should have said that.
COOPER: You don’t think the players don’t like you? When the Clippers, when your team took off — reversed their…
D. STERLING: Why wouldn’t they like me, when I’m respectful and I treat them with respect?
COOPER: When they reversed their jerseys and didn’t wear the name and they wore black socks?
D. STERLING: Well, if one does it, then the others have to do it.
COOPER: You think it was just pressure?
D. STERLING: Well, what do you think? Do you think they all are going to walk off the team? They’re all going to — what, they’re all — I mean, can any of us just stop working?
We all have to work. We all have to earn a living. We all have bills. We may work for an employer we don’t love. I contend that they love me.
COOPER: You think they still love you?
D. STERLING: I do. I do.
COOPER: You believe the players of the Los Angeles Clippers…
D. STERLING: Absolutely. They know I’m not a racist.
And I’m not a racist.
COOPER: Why haven’t they come forward and said that?
D. STERLING: Well, you see, people are intimidated by even the thought of racism.
And around the world, and this — they call me from Australia, or from London, and they ask me, different media, are you a racist? I’m not a racist.
COOPER: Well, Sterling’s estranged wife certainly hopes to keep her 50 percent stake in the team, so the future of the Clippers ownership is still very much in flux. Shelly Sterling has also broken her silence in an interview with Barbara Walters.
She gave her take on whether her estranged husband is a racist and how she felt when she heard the recordings of him speaking with V. Stiviano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLY STERLING, WIFE OF DONALD STERLING: It was horrible when I heard it. I mean, it was just degrading.
And it made me sick to hear it. But, as far as a racist, I don’t really think he’s a racist.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Have you discussed these remarks at all with your husband?
S. STERLING: He saw the tape, and he said: “I don’t remember saying that. I don’t remember ever saying those things.”
WALTERS: What did you think then?
S. STERLING: That’s when I thought he has dementia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, I spoke with Donald Sterling for more than an hour, as I said.
And that certainly doesn’t make me an expert on his mental state, but he did not strike me as someone who is suffering from dementia. Obviously, you need to know somebody for a long time to see early-onset dementia. But Donald Sterling, without counsel there, without a P.R. team there, clearly had things he wanted to say.
During the interview, he was very present. If I skipped around on questions, he would sometimes come back to questions I asked so he could finish his answers. Certainly, if he had clear signs of dementia, we would be — it’s not something I would allow an interview to go forward with.
Up next: what Donald Sterling said to me about Magic Johnson. Instead of trying to soften any of his previous comments about the L.A. Lakers legend, he amped up his attacks, crossing a line that will no doubt spark new outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D. STERLING: What kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and — is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background.
But what does he do for the black people? Doesn’t do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We’re back with my exclusive interview with Donald Sterling, the first time he’s talked since he was banned for life from the NBA for making racist comments.
Now, so far, you have heard him say repeatedly that he’s sorry. You have also heard him say he was baited to make those comments.
He told me — quote — “I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” as if he had no control over his own words.
We will let you decide what to make of all of that.
Just after the story broke last month, Magic Johnson tweeted that he and his wife, Cookie, will never go a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.
As you know, in the recordings of Sterling’s rant, he berated V. Stiviano for being seen with the L.A. Lakers legend.
In our interview, Sterling bashed Magic Johnson again. I’m not — and I’m sure that what he said will be deeply offensive to many people.
COOPER: Magic Johnson, you know, has made a public comment. What — do you have something to say to him?
D. STERLING: What could I say to him? He — it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
I’m hurt, but it doesn’t matter.
COOPER: You’re hurt that he — that he said — that he spoke out publicly?
D. STERLING: I’m hurt that he called me up and he said: “Don’t do anything. Wait until you hear from me.”
Then somebody called me later and said, he doesn’t want to be involved. And then he released the tape that I sent to him, that I talked to him in confidence.
I — I don’t — I didn’t give any interviews. You are my interview. I’m deciding if I like you.
No, but I — here is a man who is — I don’t know if I say this. He acts so holy. I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America. And he had AIDS.
And when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well.
I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he’s able to treat himself.
But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody. And I respect him. And I admire everything that he does.
You know, I would like to help even more if he would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.
COOPER: Magic Johnson had said that he would never attend a game while you were owner. Apparently, he showed up to a game today.
D. STERLING: He would never what?
COOPER: Attend a Clippers game as long as you were owner, and he came today to see the game.
D. STERLING: He’s there at the game?
D. STERLING: I don’t think it’s worthy of me even discussing. Such a stupid remark.
But he lulled me into waiting a week. Do you know what I mean? He says, “Don’t do anything.”
COOPER: He told you — you’re saying he told you not to say anything?
D. STERLING: Yes: “Don’t do anything. I know the girl. Don’t do anything. I will help you.”
I’m waiting and I’m waiting and I’m waiting.
COOPER: What you’re saying is, Magic Johnson called you up, or you called him up?
D. STERLING: I don’t know his phone number.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape broke?
D. STERLING: Yes. I don’t call anybody.
COOPER: He called you up?
D. STERLING: I’m loyal to you.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape came out and he told you not to say anything?
D. STERLING: Yes.
COOPER: Why did he say, don’t say anything?
D. STERLING: He just said: “Wait. Be patient. I will help you. We will — we will work it out.”
COOPER: Why do you think he said that?
D. STERLING: I think he wanted me just to do nothing, so he could buy the team.
He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks.
What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he has — he’s a businessperson. He…
D. STERLING: He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? I would like — did he help anybody in South L.A.?
COOPER: Well, I think he has HIV. He doesn’t actually have full-blown AIDS, but…
D. STERLING: Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and — is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background.
But what does he do for the black people? Doesn’t do anything.
You call up and say — well…
COOPER: He’s opened a lot of businesses in inner-city neighborhoods.
D. STERLING: The Jewish people — the Jewish people have a company, and it’s for people who want to borrow money and no interest. They want to give them a fish pole — a fishing pole. We want to help people. If they don’t have money, we will loan to it you. You don’t have interest. One day, you will pay us back.
D. STERLING: I’m just telling you, he does nothing. It’s all talk.
COOPER: So, you’re saying that African-Americans don’t contribute to their — to African-American communities as much as Jewish people do?
D. STERLING: There’s no African-American — never mind. I’m sorry.
You know, I — they all want to play golf with me. They — everybody wants to be with me.
COOPER: By the way Magic Johnson has a foundation that’s been around 20 years that has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS awareness and other things that we will tell you about — a little bit more about later on this hour.
And, as you just saw, Sterling stopped himself before he finished that thought about African-Americans.
Earlier in the interview, though, he made it clear what he thinks on the subject of charitable works, his own and those of African-Americans. And like the part you just heard, it started when I asked him about his relationship with Magic Johnson.
COOPER: You have talked to him?
D. STERLING: Twice, and then — yes. He’s…
COOPER: Did you apologize to him?
D. STERLING: He knew the girl, he said. He knew the girl well. He…
COOPER: Did you apologize to him, or…
D. STERLING: Well, if I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.
He’s a good person, and he — what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so.
But I will say it. I will say it. You know, he’s great. But I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles, that he would go and do what he did and then get AIDS. I mean, come on.
Maybe he doesn’t think I could be a good owner. I remember when he came from Detroit. He came to my house. You know, he was a great player, great player. But what — I would like to know exactly what he’s — what does he do? He works with the Dodgers.
COOPER: Well, he’s got a business. He owns movie theaters.
D. STERLING: Do you know what I do? I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities.
Does he do that? That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans — maybe I will get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody.
What has Magic Johnson really done for children’s hospital, which kids are lying in the hallways? They are sick. They need a bed. What has he done for any hospital? What has he done for any group? I don’t know. Maybe he’s done a lot. I know he’s successful in business. But I’m not interested in business any more at all. I’m interested in helping people.
COOPER: But you are interested in business. You are interested in maintaining ownership of the Clippers. That’s…
D. STERLING: Well…
COOPER: That’s business.
D. STERLING: Well, that’s — that’s under control.
COOPER: You could take — you could take hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of the team and help whoever you wanted with that money.
D. STERLING: And maybe I will do that.
COOPER: Well, a lot more on the facts, actual facts, about Magic Johnson’s track record of giving back.
Just for the record, his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which he founded in 1991, gets high ratings from Charity Navigator. It currently has four stars, the best rating possible. The foundation provides funds, HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and treatment, as well as scholarships and mentoring for minority students and other support ethnically diverse urban communities. It’s spent many millions of dollars on these programs over the last 20 years.
And as chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, I should point out, Johnson has also invested heavily, again, millions, in underserved urban communities. Apparently, Donald Sterling does not know those facts.
COOPER: More now of my exclusive interview with Donald Sterling.
Earlier, you heard the embattled L.A. Clippers owner tell me that he thinks he was set up, baited to make the racist comments that got him banned for life from the NBA, baited by the woman he refers to repeatedly as “the girl,” 31-year-old V. Stiviano, who recorded the conversation during an argument, according to TMZ, which posted the recording.
She’s a mystery figure of sorts in this drama, possibly because, more than not, when she’s in public, she’s wearing this very awesome full-face visor.
Her exact relationship with the 80-year-old billionaire unclear, her motivations for making the tape also uncertain. There’s plenty of, well, speculation about it. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Stiviano says she doesn’t think Sterling is racist. She described him as a kind and generous man.
When we talked about her, instead of harsh words, he talked how much she had hurt him.
COOPER: Did you say to somebody that you should have paid V. Stiviano off?
D. STERLING: No.
COOPER: Did she ask you for money? Do you believe she was trying to extort money from you in any way?
D. STERLING: You know, forgive me for saying this, but she — she is a good person. She is a beautiful person.
There’s 15 of her, 15 children, 15 Hispanic kids, sisters and brothers, and she supports them all. Perhaps she’s made some mistakes. I thought she cared for me. I was stupid.
How could a girl care for a man 51 years older? She didn’t, or she wouldn’t have released those tapes. But she’s not a bad person. She has to survive. She — she’s a street person. But, inside, she’s a good person.
COOPER: You still think she’s a good person?
D. STERLING: But she’s not relevant to this conversation.
D. STERLING: I don’t know why she did what she did. I wish God would tell me.
But whatever she did, good or bad, I’m the guilty one for uttering those terrible, ugly words that I don’t mean.
I made such a mistake. I thought that woman really cared for me. But thank God this has all come to the light, because it could have been worse, and she could have — I don’t know what she wants. I don’t know how it happened.
COOPER: She told Barbara Walters that there’s other tapes, there’s other recordings out there.
D. STERLING: They say there are 100.
COOPER: Do you believe there are other things you have said which — which you might regret?
D. STERLING: I don’t know what she baited me to say.
COOPER: Do you have the sense that she was wanting money from you, more money than you have already given her?
D. STERLING: I used to think I understood women. I don’t think I do anymore. I don’t know.
I don’t know why she released it. She never said what you just said.
COOPER: She never directly asked for money?
D. STERLING: Pardon me?
COOPER: She never directly asked for money or extorted money?
D. STERLING: No.
You know, if I can really be honest, this girl, a hundred men could look at her and perhaps they wouldn’t even think she’s pretty. But she was something special.
And the point that I’m making is, she was a woman who really never asked for anything. She had a way of walking by a Neiman Marcus and looking in the window and saying, “Sweetie, do you think that that dress is beautiful?” And if you’re a man, you would not want to go buy the dress?
COOPER: You gave her multiple cars, an apartment. You were very generous to her.
D. STERLING: I was generous. I wouldn’t cover that with you.
But some women who are — she was so nice and so sweet for the two years. I just — I just couldn’t believe she was so sweet and so nice. And she never really asked for — she tried to help her family, the 15 people. What a job. But…
COOPER: It sounds like you’re still sympathetic toward her.
D. STERLING: I just would like to know why she did it. It’s like a woman stabbing you in the chest or shooting you.
And, sometimes, women say, “I love — I love him,” and they kill him.