Donald Sterling Asked Companion to Disavow Recording: Report

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Donald Sterling, in a campaign to blunt the damage from a rant against blacks, tried to get his companion to say that she had altered a recording of the comments, according to confidential NBA documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Sterling also tried to arrange for the companion, V. Stiviano, to make a payment to settle a lawsuit brought against her by Sterling’s wife, and promised to reimburse Stiviano through back channels, according to the documents.

The documents are part of a case assembled by the NBA as it tries to strip Sterling of his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. The other NBA owners will hear from the league and from Sterling on June 3.

The Times also reported that Andy Roeser, the team president, discussed the recording with Sterling and asked a team employee to destroy a copy of it two weeks before it was made public April 25. The league has placed Roeser on indefinite leave.

On May 2, as Stiviano was preparing for an ABC interview, Sterling asked her to say that she had altered the audio and asked her to make the payment, according to the NBA documents reviewed by the Times.

The wife, Shelly Sterling, wants to recover the money Donald Sterling spent to buy cars and a house for Stiviano. She has made a public case to retain ownership of the team.

Donald Sterling told NBA investigators that he never attacked Stiviano for posting Instagram photos of herself with black people, and said that he had only told her not to take “gangbangers” to Clippers games because they scared other fans.

Roeser declined comment to the newspaper. Sterling did not respond to a request for comment, the newspaper said.

— Erin McClam