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Donald Sterling Asking for Second Chance; Nigerian Girl Who Escaped Kidnappers; New Doubts Over Flight 370 Search; Donald and Shelly Sterling Interviews

Aired May 12, 2014 - 13:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Donald Sterling tells CNN's Anderson Cooper his racist comments were a terrible mistake. Sterling also explains why he hasn't apologized until now. We'll have the exclusive interview.

Also right now, another CNN exclusive, a girl who made a daring escape after she was kidnapped last month in Nigeria tells our own Nima Elbagir why she'll never go back to school.

And right now, we're getting our first peek inside Hillary Clinton's long-awaited memoir. You're going to find out who she turned to in the tough days after her 2008 presidential campaign ended.

Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington. We start with Donald Sterling. In an exclusive new CNN interview, the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is asking for a second chance. Sterling was banned for life by the NBA for making racist remarks which were caught on tape. Our own Anderson Cooper sat down with Sterling for his first post-suspension T.V. interview. Listen to this.


DONALD STERLING: I'm a good member who made a mistake. And I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness. Am I entitled to one mistake? Am I -- after 35 years? I mean, I love my league. I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake and I'll never do it again.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360": The vice president of the NBA Players Association, Roger Mason, he said that the players won't accept anyone in the Sterling family owning the Clippers, not you, not your wife, not your son-in-law, not your daughter. Do you believe it?

STERLING: I really don't know. The people that are going to decide my fate, I think, are not the media and not the players union, but the NBA.

COOPER: The owners?

STERLING: Pardon me?

COOPER: The owners.

STERLING: The owners. If the owners feel I deserve another chance, then they'll give it to me.

COOPER: But there is a path for you to fight their decision, isn't there?

STERLING: Of course. But if you fight with my partners, what -- at the end of the road, what do I benefit? Especially at my age. If they fight with me and they spend millions and I spend millions, let's say I win or they win, I just don't know if that's important.

COOPER: Why wait so long to apologize? It's been a couple of weeks. You could have come out --

STERLING: Well, that's a very good question. I just -- I'm so emotionally distraught. And the reason it's hard for me, very hard for me, is that I'm wrong. I caused the problem. I don't know how to correct it.

COOPER: Do you trust people? I mean, --


COOPER: -- there have been a couple phone recordings in the last week or two that have come out of people you've talked to on the phone or seems to be your voice who then sold it to, you know, Radar Online or TMZ. And I hear that and I think, to you have anyone you trust around you?

STERLING: I don't give interviews. The only one that I know that I talked to is Magic Johnson.

COOPER: You have talked to him?

STERLING: Twice. And then -- yes, he's --

COOPER: Did you apologize?

STERLING: He knew the girl, he said. He knew the girl well. He --

COOPER: Did you apologize to him or?

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'll say it, I'll say it, you know, he's great. But I just don't think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles.


BLITZER: That clip, it sounded like Sterling was ready to accept his punishment if his fellow NBA owners decide to make him sell the team. But his wife, Shelly Sterling, isn't giving up. She says she wants to keep her 50 percent share. Well, the NBA now says that is not, repeat, not, an option.

Let's discuss the interview and more. Joining us, Rachel Nichols. She's the host of CNN's "UNGUARDED" and CNN's Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin. You know, what jumped out at me -- Rachel, you know Magic Johnson. I know Magic Johnson. One of the most decent guys out there. He does a lot for minorities. He has a lot of businesses. He hires a lot of people in the urban areas of the country. What is he -- what is Sterling talking about?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, "UNGUARDED": It's unbelievable. And I'm not sure how, in one breath, he can say that he deserves to remain a part of the NBA community and deserves to be partners with the rest of the NBA and the ownership, and then in the next breath, takes a shot at Magic Johnson, another shot at Magic Johnson. I don't know how you can be so oblivious to the climate that you're in. And it just shows that he just doesn't really have a place in this league.

BLITZER: What do you think, Sunny? Because I don't know if you know Magic. Rachel and I have met him on many occasions. He's such a wonderful -- I mean, he's a role model for so many people out there.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, he's an icon. And you're right, he has all of these businesses. You know, he came out and, I think, sort of changed the tide of people that had HIV diagnosis.

So, it's sort of shocking, as Rachel said, that Donald Sterling just doesn't seem to have his finger on the pulse of America. He just doesn't seem to understand the climate that he's in. And that is really remarkable. On the one hand, he says, I'm sorry. He also says, if I did anything wrong, I'm sorry. Again, sort of that connotation that he doesn't really think that what he did was wrong.

BLITZER: And the NBA is making it clear, Rachel, that she's not going to be allowed to keep ownership of that team. He's banned for life. So, he's going to be banned for all practical purposes. But they're also making it clear that she's not going to be allowed to keep the team either.

NICHOLS: Well, her lawyer said on your show to you that she will, quote, "fight for the death" or "fight to the death" which is a visual, by the way, I don't really need, but to keep part of the team. And I got to tell you, the NBA is trying to put a stop to this right away. Her lawyer keeps saying, we've been working with the NBA.

The NBA released a statement last night making it absolutely clear that they are not working with Shelly Sterling, that they don't think she has any right to ownership. Remember, the Board of Governors, which is the official way owners step into their majority role in the NBA Council there, he is the representative. And that the rest of the NBA would have to have approved her as a Board of Governor's member and she was never approved as a Board of Governor's member. So, they're saying, no shot.

And one thing that I think is interesting in all of that, by the way, is that LeBron James came out in the afternoon and made a statement. I actually asked him in front a bunch of other media. I said, how would you feel about the pace of this investigation and other people stepping in from the Sterling family? And he said to me, he said, no way. Nobody in this league is comfortable with the idea of anyone in that family owning a piece of that team. And it was just hours later the NBA released a statement.

So, they're obviously listening to their players. They are aware of what a tinder box this is. And I don't think Donald Sterling's interview is going to help his cause at all.

BLITZER: All right, Sunny, let me read to you the statement that the lawyer for Shelly Sterling, Pierce O'Donnell, released and I'll get your legal reaction. We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its Constitution, its application to shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances. We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation. So, clearly, they're setting up a legal battle.

HOSTIN: They are. And I've got to tell you, I've read, of course, the NBA Constitution, by this point. And I think that Shelly Sterling's lawyer has a pretty good legal ground to challenge the NBA's position. Yes, the NBA is saying, you know, per the Constitution, if you're a controlling owner, you know, you -- and you behave inappropriately like this, then every other owner can't participate in the team. Well, what is the definition of a controlling owner? I think that's something that's open to interpretation.

And in contract law, quite frankly, when there are ambiguities, those ambiguities cut against the folks that drafted it, the NBA in this instance. So, when we hear Donald's -- Shelly Sterling's lawyer saying, yes, I'm going to challenge, I got to tell you, I take him at his word. I think that there is going to be a challenge and I think that there is firm legal footing for that challenge.

NICHOLS: I don't doubt that the lawyer's going to challenge because he's going to make a lot of money making that challenge and there is wiggle room. But I will say the NBA has a Board of Governors set up so there is a specific designation for who the controlling -- the majority owner is. And that controlling owner has to be voted on to that Board of Governors and that person was Donald Sterling.

Shelly Sterling never voted on to that Board of Governors. And the NBA is saying that to get on to the Board of Governors, she would now have to be voted in. And that, of course, is never going to happen. So, that's their side of it. But, hey, that's what lawyers are for, right? To try to pick at those loopholes and make a lot of money doing it.

HOSTIN: And that's right. And we're in territory that we've never been in before in sports law. And so, this is going to make precedent and I think it's going to be very interesting to watch. But I would agree that the NBA has made its position, you know, very, very clear. But I don't know if that's going to hold up in a court of law, I'll tell you.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens together with you guys, Rachel and Sunny. Guys, thanks very, very much.

A reminder, you can see the entire Donald Sterling interview tonight on "A.C. 360," Anderson's complete interview, 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

Still to come, in the dead of night, they were rounded up, kidnapped from their schools. Now, a month later, we may have our first video showing the abducted girls.

And later, why there are now new doubts that are being cast on the search for Flight 370.


BLITZER: It's truly a chilling, chilling scene. Boko Haram releasing what it says is a video of the kidnapped Nigerian girls. If true, it would be the first sighting since their abduction. The footage shows girls dressed in Muslim head dresses reciting the Koran. While it's unclear when the video was shot, it does offer hope that the girls have not been sold or separated, at least not yet.

Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, appears in a separate part of the video dressed in fatigues and armed with a machine gun. Shekau says the girls have converted to Islam. He also sends a message to the Nigerian government saying he's willing to exchange the girls for Boko Haram prisoners.

There were a few girls who managed to escape the night of the kidnapping and one of them is speaking to CNN exclusively. To do the interview, Nima Elbagir, our Correspondent, and her crew made a dangerous journey to Chibok. It's the town were the girls were taken. It's about a day's drive from the capital of Abuja. The girl describes how she managed to escape her captors and explains to Nima why the town lives in fear.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a road few are now willing to travel. It's been one checkpoint after another as we have traveled north from the Nigerian capital of Abuja. We've definitely seen evidence of the security re-inforcements that the government's been talking about.

But as we got further north, as we got deeper into the Boko Haram countryside, where they've been striking terror into the hearts of villages, much of that presence seems to have evaporated.

(voice-over): Attacks by the militant Islamist group Boka Haram are constant in this part of Nigeria. But what happened in Chibok put the world on notice.

(on camera): In here, in these rooms is where the girls were sleeping when armed men in what they describe as military uniforms came to their dormitory gate and told them that they'd come to protect them. The girls started to assemble in the yard as ordered to. They didn't realize who the men really were until it was too late.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, OK, we enter this lorry.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): This girl managed to escape. She's now too fearful to show her face, too fearful to go back.


ELBAGIR (on camera): Big lorry.


ELBAGIR: They came with a big lorry?


ELBAGIR: Was it one or more?


ELBAGIR: Seven lorrys.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Trucks, motor bikes. Residents here tell us this raid was effectively a shopping trip for Boka Haram. Over 200 girls dragged from their beds to be sold off as bounty. A message that the militant group's edicts on female education must be heeded. But a way, also, for big men with guns to make money off terrified girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it's in Chibok, I'll never go back again.

ELBAGIR (on camera): You'll never go back to school?


ELBAGIR: Because they made you afraid?


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Before the militants left, they destroyed everything they could, textbooks, the library, the laboratory, their attempt to forever shutter this school. Elizabeth and Mary are friends, members of the same church. Their daughters were also friends, hoping one day to study medicine. They and many of their classmates never made it home from school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are pleading with them to leave our daughters. We don't have power to do anything that requires power.

ELBAGIR: They say they still feel powerless. No closer to finding their daughters nearly a month after they were taken.

Nima Elbagir, Chibok, Nigeria.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The search for the missing girls is receiving support from the United States. A State Department official saying most of the team sent to Nigeria is now on the ground. The advisers have started coordinating with the Nigerian military on planning operations, hostage negotiations, as well as helping to streamline communication among various agencies.

Up next, new reports questioning the value of some of those pings heard last month in the search for Flight 370. Our panel of experts standing by to tell us what it means for the search operation that's going on right now.


BLITZER: There's some new doubts being raised over the search for Flight 370. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting the pings detected on April 8th may not have come from the missing plane's black boxes after all. If true, that would mean only the two transmissions on April 5th could be relevant to the current search.

Let's bring in our panel of experts. Peter Goelz is a CNN aviation analyst, the former NTSB managing director, and our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, he's the former assistant director of the FBI.

Peter, how significant would it be if these two pings - they've spent so much time searching that area where they think they may have detected ping from the black box, turned out to be nothing after all?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I think it is important because, you know, it's a matter of trust as well. I mean there was a great deal of expectation raised when all four pings were picked up. But there were some caveats. The two pings that they're now dismissing came in at much lower kilowatts. They were 27.5 as opposed to 37.5. And now that the new team that's looking at it, the Australians, the Chinese, the Americans, the Brits and the Malaysians, they've now said probably not, we're going to focus on the pings of April 5th.

BLITZER: But the discrepancy they argue -- they knew there was a different number for the kilohertz. They knew that from the beginning. But they said, maybe if they were so deep under water, the water could affect what you were really picking up. They thought it was the real thing and it still might be the real thing, although this new report suggests quoting a high-ranking Australian investigator, it sounds that -- at least two of them, sounds like it's not necessarily coming from these black boxes.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. And it raises the question of, are they looking in areas because that's where the Bluefin is capable of looking? Should they be looking where the other pings were, where the ocean might be deeper and the Bluefin can't go deep enough and they need, you know, new devices to come in there to search in that area if it's below the capability of the Bluefin.

BLITZER: Let me play a clip. Anna Coren, our correspondent in Australia right now, she interviewed Angus Houston, the Australian who's in charge of this investigation. Listen to this.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that something could be found within the next month? ANGUS HOUSTON, HEAD, JOINT AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER: I guess what we're doing is pursuing the lead that we have at the moment. And we need to pursue that lead to its conclusion. If we find something, I'll be overjoyed. If we don't, we'll go on to the next phase of the search.


BLITZER: All right, that doesn't exactly sound very optimistic does it?

GOELZ: No, it's not optimistic. And, you know, from the beginning, I think we've said, this is going to be months, perhaps even years. And this is -- they've got the search where the pings were. If it does not prove out, then they're in for a very long time. And they're going to be using to towed rays. It's going to be slogging it month after month.

BLITZER: And it comes on the heels of an article that emerged last Friday in "The Atlantic" by Ari Schulman, we had him here on our show, in which he said that Inmarsat, those pings from the satellite, the handshakes as they were called, they may be way off base as well.

FUENTES: Well, he said that, but then he also admitted that if -- their opinion is based on a lack of all of the facts as well. So they don't have all of the material that the analysts have that came to the conclusions in the first place about the Inmarsat data. So there's still a question there of - because he's putting the caveat of, we don't have all the information, but we think the information is wrong.

BLITZER: Because if all of this new information that's coming out raising questions about the Inmarsat satellite, that southern arc into the southern Indian Ocean, now the information about the black boxes and the pings, if all that turns out to be accurate, this new information, they really are starting from scratch. They haven't found anything yet. They haven't even heard any pings.


GOELZ: That's true. I mean I've spoken to investigators over the weekend. They still have a very high degree of confidence in the work that they've done on the Inmarsat. They believe they're in the right location. As Tom indicated, they may not have the equipment necessary to find the wreckage. It may be deeper than where the Bluefin can go.

BLITZER: Peter, Tom, guys, thanks very, very much. We'll continue to watch this story.

Still to come, Donald Sterling says he's sorry. So what is his wife saying about the racist comments, the expected sale of the L.A. Clippers? We're going to hear her take. Stand by.

Later, newly released excerpts of Hillary Clinton's upcoming memoir. We're going to tell you what she has to say about her own mother.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington.

Donald Sterling says he was baited into making those racist comments. The comments eventually got Sterling banned for life by the NBA. He says he's sorry, but he also seems ready to accept his fate at the hands of his fellow NBA owners. Here's what he told our Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview with CNN.


ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S "AC 360": The vice president of the NBA Players Association, Roger Mason, he said that the players won't accept anyone in the Sterling family owning the Clippers, not you, not your wife, not your son-in-law, not your daughter. Do you believe that?

DONALD STERLING, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS OWNER: I really don't know. The people that are going to decide my fate I think are not the media and not the players union but the NBA.

COOPER: The owners?

STERLING: Pardon me?

COOPER: The owners?

STERLING: The owners. If the owners feel I deserve another chance, then they'll give it to me.


BLITZER: Our Brian Todd is joining us now.

Brian, Donald Sterling, he's talking now for the first time to Anderson.


BLITZER: But Shelly Sterling, she also gave her own TV interview this weekend.