Return to Transcripts main page
LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Sterling Interview; MERS Cases in Orlando; Second U.S. Case of MERS Confirmed; Donald Sterling Speaks to Anderson Cooper
Aired May 13, 2014 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So go to the Facebook page, facebook/thishour and be sure to like it.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: That was supposed to be private.
BERMAN: Thank you so much for joining us at THIS HOUR.
PEREIRA: That's it for us. That's a wrap.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman.
PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. Wait for it. Ashleigh Banfield and "Legal View" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS OWNER: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's that. He thinks Anderson Cooper's a racist. Wait until you hear what he says about Magic Johnson. Donald Sterling, the exclusive and explosive interview.
Also this hour, is that Beyonce's little sister beating up on Jay-z while Beyonce just stands by and watches? Something is definitely going down in this elevator. Plus this hour, we have brand new pictures of that family as they emerge from that elevator. And let me just tell you, Jay-Z's face may just say it all.
And speaking of down, down deep, divers descend on a shipwreck off Haiti that could be one of the biggest finds of all time. Have they discovered the ship that discovered America?
Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is Tuesday, May 13th. And welcome to LEGAL VIEW.
If Donald Sterling thought that he could take some of the heat off by talking to the world at length about his innermost thoughts and feelings, he was almost certainly wrong. In the hour ahead, I want you to hear some of the most memorable pieces of Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with the embattled owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. And by memorable I mean bizarre, at times contrite, confused, certainly contradictory. Case in point, just have a look at this rant about an NBA legend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S "AC 360": What you're saying is Magic Johnson called you up or you called him up?
DONALD STERLING, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS OWNER: I don't know his phone number. He called me.
COOPER: He called you up --
COOPER: When the tape broke?
STERLING: I don't call anybody. I'm loyal to you (ph).
COOPER: He called you up - he called you up when the tape came out and he told you not to say anything?
COOPER: Why did he say don't say anything?
STERLING: He just said, wait, be patient, and I'll help you. We'll work it out.
COOPER: Why do you think he said that?
STERLING: I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could buy the team. He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks. Well, what has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he has -- he's a business person and he --
STERLING: He's got AIDS. Did he do anything business? I'd like -- did he help anybody in south L.A.?
COOPER: I think he has HIV. He doesn't actually have full blown AIDS.
STERLING: Well, what kind of a guy goes to every (INAUDIBLE) girl (ph), 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? He doesn't do anything. You call up and say, well - you know the Jewish people have a -
COOPER: He's doing a - he's opened a lot of businesses in inner city neighborhoods.
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 fishing pole. We want to help people. If they don't have the money, we'll loan it to you. You don't have interest, one day you'll pay us back. COOPER: So -
STERLING: I'm just telling you, he does nothing. It's all talk.
COOPER: So you're -- so you're saying that African-Americans don't contribute to their -- to African-American communities as much as Jewish people do --
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: I'm not sure about everybody. Magic Johnson gets his say about all of this tonight on "AC 360." Last night, in fact, he was tweeting. And I'm going to quote him directly. "I'd rather be talking about these great NBA playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview."
For his part, the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, rushed out a statement last night reading, in part, "while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA board of governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."
Certainly wouldn't be a better time for my panel to weigh in on this. CNN anchor and correspondent Don Lemon joins me right now, defense attorney and CNN commentator Mel Robbins is with me, and defense attorney and HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson.
I know all of you have a lot to say. But, Don, I want to go to you first. I think you're sort of the definitive voice on this and race and everything else lately that's been, you know, gobbling up airwaves.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I just -
BANFIELD: This was supposed to be damage control.
LEMON: It was. I mean if he has people advising him, which I don't think he does, they need to be fired. And if he doesn't, he needs to hire a good team. Just in that one -- that was just one little snippet, right? He offended so many people. Number one, he's saying people should be ashamed of having AIDS, right? Then he says, the blacks don't do anything. And then he talks about Jewish people, how they help -- what he's insinuating is that Jewish people are better than black people. He doesn't understand the depths of his bigotry and racism. This guy's a lost cause.
BANFIELD: So he's in his 80s.
LEMON: No excuse.
BANFIELD: It's clear he doesn't understand much. But at some point, can you also see the perspective that this is a very old man -
BANFIELD: Who, yes, does not have that guidance and --
LEMON: I don't. I don't see it.
BANFIELD: Doesn't realize the error of his ways at this point.
LEMON: This guy was around for Jackie Robinson. This guy was around for the civil rights movement and you can't excuse people because they're old. My mother is now in her 70s. I can't believe it. I remember when she was in her 30s. And my mother is now in her 70s. She's not a bigot or a racist. I know plenty of people who are older people, you do as well, who aren't bigots and racists. You must live in the here and now. We live in the moment. We live in 2014. There is no excuse for that behavior.
BANFIELD: I think you're right about the fact there's no one advising him. Anderson Cooper sat in that chair yesterday -
BANFIELD: And that was the first question I had, who is, a, helping this man understand --
LEMON: Nobody was sitting in the interview with him?
BANFIELD: No one is helping him understand the magnitude of this.
BANFIELD: Let alone helping him forage the message.
MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: And he shouldn't need it.
BANFIELD: By the way - he should -- well, that's a good point. But I want you to bear with me because what Don brought up is so salient here. Sterling attacked the philanthropy of African-Americans in general and Magic Johnson in particular.
So, I want to set the record straight here and look at some numbers. Tax records reported in "The Huffington Post" show that Sterling and the Clippers have indeed given out some very large sums, $43,000 to the NAACP, for instance, money the group has since returned, $55,000 to the United Negro College Fund, $30,000 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, $68,000 to the Special Olympics, $40,000 to L.A.'s Union Rescue Mission.
In all, about $2.3 million over five years. But I want to point out that Sterling also paid more than that, almost $3 million, to settle a race discrimination suit brought by the Justice Department, the government, against his real estate company. So with that said, let's go to Magic Johnson, because he had some choice words about not knowing what Magic Johnson's done. Though Johnson's foundation he's raised more than $20 million for HIV awareness and community empowerment and has awarded $4 million in scholarships. Magic Johnson Enterprises builds theaters, restaurants and other businesses in chronically underserved areas. This is not supposed to be - it never was supposed to be, Mel Robbins, a tit-for- tat what have you done for me lately interview -
BANFIELD: But it sure has turned out that way.
LEMON: Throughout the (INAUDIBLE). That was great showing that. It was (ph).
ROBBINS: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, it also goes to show you, don't tell me what you've done, show me. And so Donald Sterling can sit there and say everything that he wants to say, but it doesn't actually make it true.
And one of the things I want to go back to that Don was talking about is that age is no excuse. Well, particularly for Donald Sterling, who knows accomplished black athletes and accomplished black businessmen, and who makes millions upon millions of dollars on a league that's 75 percent African-American.
So that if anybody were to be born with and raised in and have bigoted points of views, if anyone would become evolved, if anyone would become a crusader, if anyone were to have a different point of view about racial equality, it should be somebody in his position. And, instead, he has become more and more bigoted, more and more isolated, and sits there in the chair with Anderson Cooper wondering aloud, how could this be, but people love me?
BANFIELD: You know, I -
ROBBINS: I mean, it's just astonishing.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: And the team loves me.
BANFIELD: Well -
JACKSON: The team still loves me.
BANFIELD: We're getting to that, in fact, because that is a very big part of the interview. And when we come back, I want you to think this through, like you haven't already, but think this through the break, Joey Jackson.
JACKSON: No. BANFIELD: Is that slander? Even if Magic Johnson were the least bit interested, and it sounds like he's not, of taking him to task for what he said last night, is what Mr. Sterling said slander to Magic Johnson? That is one very big industry, Mr. Magic Johnson, and that could take a hit by some people. So I want you to think about that for a moment.
And, by the way, Don Lemon hit it, it's the tip of the iceberg. That was only one small snippet of what Anderson Cooper was able to talk to Don Sterling about. And you're going to hear more about this interview.
And by the way, Magic Johnson immediately got a hold of Anderson Cooper and said, we will be talking about this on your program if you'll have me. And he will, 8:00 Eastern tonight.
Sterling seems to be digging his heels in. He wants to keep his team. He says he doesn't think the NBA wants him. That's what Joey Jackson just said. Guess what? I'm not sure he knows what he's talking about anymore because the way everyone else is talking, sounds like that man's not listening.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BANFIELD: And breaking news comes out of Florida this hour. Two health care workers at a hospital in Orlando where a patient is being treated for MERS are now being tested for that disease after suffering flu- like symptoms. MERS is - it stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Apparently CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is reporting that they are now trying to contact a number of people about this. She joins me live on the phone.
I'm seeing that there are possibly around 500 people who may have come into contact with those in the Indiana case, which was the first case. So now we're dealing with Florida as well, Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Right. And so when you think about it, Ashleigh, when we go (INAUDIBLE), you just - you come into contact with a lot of people. So this health care worker from Saudi Arabia, who flew to Orlando, you know, he walks into the hospital. He actually walks into two hospitals to, you know, to get care.
You can imagine the receptionist, the person who leads him to his room, all the doctors and nurses. That's a lot of people. And so now they need to follow all those people to see if they become ill. Not to mention all of the people who he flew with in his fight to Saudi Arabia (INAUDIBLE) and (ph) to Atlanta.
BANFIELD: And remind me how critical this is, how severe MERS is and how treatable.
COHEN: Yes, MERS is truly severe. When -- it's got a 30 percent mortality rate. So about one out of three people die. And that's the best news about MERS. The good news, if you can put it that way, is that it's not easily transmissible. So people tend to transmit it to close contacts, husbands, wives, people living in their own house, or to health care workers who, of course, have very close contact with their patients. It doesn't, from what we've seen, it doesn't seem to be the kind of thing you get because you sat down at the table next to a sick person in a restaurant or you walked by them on the street.
BANFIELD: And, again, around 500, maybe more, people now who may have come into contact with these people. And this is both in the United States and abroad we're being told who may have been traveling. They're now trying to contact them to find out if they perhaps could be affected by this.
When we come back after the break, the news that seems to be sort of ricocheting around all fascist of society, Donald Sterling's comments to Anderson Cooper about the whole issue of the L.A. Clippers, what he said about black people on audiotape and now what he's saying about Magic Johnson.
More after the break.
BANFIELD: More now from CNN's Anderson Cooper's interview with the embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who remarkably seems to believe that he will remain the Clippers owner for some time to come.
Yes, in this exchange with Anderson, he suggests that he will bow to the will of the fellow team owners in the league, but amazingly he does not accept that they want him out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and then they'll have to hire a wall of lawyers and to go to war. I don't think that's the answer.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": So what is it? What are you going to do?
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: The NBA says they want you out. Are you willing to give up ownership of the Clippers?
STERLING: Well, I'm not sure that's what they want.
COOPER: That is what they want.
STERLING: That's your opinion. 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 the owners want me out doesn't mean they want me out. COOPER: Have you talked to any of the owners?
STERLING: I've talked to some of the owners.
COOPER: Have any of them supported you?
STERLING: Of course they support me. They can't understand why I would say that.
COOPER: You're saying there's some owners of the NBA teams who want you to remain the owner of the Clippers?
STERLING: I don't speak for the league or for the owners.
COOPER: But have any owners told you that?
STERLING: I didn't ask them. I embarrassed the league. I humiliated them. I don't know how -- why I did it. I feel terrible.
COOPER: You don't believe the owners would have you removed?
STERLING: I don't think so.
COOPER: If they did, would you fight that in court?
STERLING: We're not there yet, so why should I address that issue? I don't want to fight with my partners. We all do what we have to do in life.
COOPER: You --
STERLING: I love them, I respect them. Whatever their decision is with regard to the disposition of my terrible words, then I have to do it I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So I'm joined once again by -- I need a drink, too. I need a lot of drinks.
BANFIELD: So, Joey, when you hear this, look, a lot of people use the word delusional.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: That's a good word.
BANFIELD: It's a good word.
JACKSON: There are more and better.
BANFIELD: Like evidence, if you needed more evidence for, say, any other team owners who weren't so convinced before, last night might have been, especially when he said the things he said about Magic. I asked you before the break, is that slander? Does it rise to the level of slander? JACKSON: All right, Ashleigh, a lot to address here, OK?
The first thing being the delusion, here's the reality. What we saw there and make no mistake about it, I think we had all the evidence we needed initially, OK, but if you were lacking in evidence and thought there should be some more, that certainly gives you all you need.
What he espoused was not a mistake, right? This is a philosophy. This is who he is. This is what he's about. And that's what was represented through his remarks that are just condemned in the worst possible terms, because they need to be, because he is a racist.
And the reality, Ashleigh, is this. The fact that he's speaking now, the owners, it gives them more ability to remove him. I think they'll get three-quarters, regardless of him saying they all love me, the world loves me, and then it's, you know, I'll abide by whatever the owners want. I think it could be an act.
But just remember what slander is, OK? Slander is a false statement that is injurious to your reputation. It injures your reputation.
But in considering this, we have to consider the source. Is Magic Johnson's reputation really tarnished by this man?
We know Magic to be a good man. We know him to be a philanthropist. We know him to be a person who builds his community, who loves not only his community but people would don't look like him. And so, Ashleigh, when you get down to it, I don't think or believe that the statements coming from this source have tarnished Magic in any way.
To the reverse, they've uplifted him.
MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: There you go. They've actually lifted him up.
BANFIELD: Normally you don't put your hand up.
LEMON: I just had an epiphany sitting here. I think that what this guy said on tape, knowing full well cameras are rolling and a microphone, is much worse than he said to V. Stiviano in those tapes. This is much more egregious.
Anyone who has been defending this man and talking about, oh, he's an old man and you can't say things in your home. OK. He got in front of a camera and a microphone, and he said the most awful things about black people, about Magic Johnson and HIV, about all people.
He embarrassed himself. He embarrassed Jewish people. I'm getting tweets now from people saying, I'm embarrassed to be Jewish now because of this guy.
JACKSON: He couldn't help himself.
LEMON: This is way more egregious. This is worse than what he said in private. It is disgusting. This man is a piece of you-know-what. BANFIELD: There's word that there are more tapes of the private conversations. At one point during this interview, he said, "Thank God she didn't" -- or, "It could have been worse" --
ROBBINS: "It could have been worse."
BANFIELD: -- and stopped himself, so I'm not quite sure what could have been worse. It's interesting, and I feel it. Don, I feel this, because I'm not black, and I don't know what that feels like to have that personal affront to me and my people.
BANFIELD: I know I didn't like the fact he was cavorting with a 50- year-younger woman and throwing her around all the images of the games and still a married man.
LEMON: He felt that. He cried in the interview.
JACKSON: All right, Ashleigh --
ROBBINS: That's the one part that --
LEMON: He felt that. He's like, What was I thinking, this --
ROBBINS: Maybe she didn't love me.
LEMONS: It would be great if he had a "come-to-Jesus" moment about racism that he had on camera.
BANFIELD: His "come-to-Jesus" moment was about she didn't love me, I can't believe I made this mistake. And I'm not sure if he knew --
LEMON: Where have you been for the last couple of years?
BANFIELD: Was the mistake that you spoke to a girl you shouldn't have trusted or was the mistake that you actually said and feel these things and are you sorry now that you're caught?
JACKSON: That's the point. And it's not about her and how could she do this and she set me up. It's about you, Mr. Sterling. It's about your remarks.
Did she tell you to say what she said? Was she in your mouth? Did she say, and is this her philosophy, or is it yours? How about owning it? And even if he had a team of people and publicists around him, I don't think that assists him here at all, because you know who he is.
ROBBINS: Neither would be of us could bait either one of these men into saying something racist, because it's not --
BANFIELD: It's not in them.
ROBBINS: -- in there. You only get baited if somebody hits a hot button and all the sudden you say something you believe. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I have said this twice now. Adam Silver should send Anderson Cooper a huge thing of flowers or a fruit basket or something, because he just handed the owners a silver -- like, this is, like, we're done here.
LEMON: Everybody at CNN should get courtside seats to the Clippers.
BANFIELD: Look as a journalist, and especially on a program called LEGAL VIEW where I've watched defense attorneys like yourself, Joey, masterfully mine for any kind of defense because that's what our country gives our people, thank god, I've been trying to do the same thing here.
And I have elderly parents. I have gone through the death of an elderly father who went through dementia, and I know some of the things they do and say without understanding the import of their words.
And I do have to only give that part -- it's almost like shooting fish in a barrel, when you put an 82-year-old man, who, by the way, was slightly drooling during the interview, regardless of who he is or what he is, it's easy pickings to get those things out of him.
I know there are a lot of people out there saying the same thing. And at the same time, they're not at all defending --
LEMON: You know what you would do?
BANFIELD: -- who he is and what he is and what he's said.
LEMON: What would you do with your grandparents? Grandma, come here sit down. You shouldn't say that. You would not allow them to go on national television.
BANFIELD: Which is why I asked Anderson Cooper yesterday who is there with him?
LEMON: No one.
BANFIELD : He's an elderly man who should not be allowed to do these things in public.
ROBBBINS: But you know what? He's got plenty of money. He's calling the shots, just like he's called the shots forever. And this is the first time in his life where he's not been in control, John, or he can't buy things off or he can't --
LEMON: Even if it's this Shelly, who's his ex-wife, if you have an ex- , you may not be getting along, but there was something that you had --
ROBBINS: They have not gotten a divorce for 20 years. Why? Money. That's what drives these people.
BANFIELD: She said she doesn't love him and that she pities him and feels sorry for him. LEMON: That says a lot about her, but even if it's an ex- who you don't get along with or whatever, you will say, OK, listen, this person is obviously having issues, mental issues.
JACKSON: I'm glad he did the interview. I'm glad he did without lawyers or handlers, because it exposes him for who he is.
LEMON: For people who think it's OK to act like that or speak that way, now they see it. It's like it's a mirror, so I'm glad he's talking.
BANFIELD: By the way, you are on at 10:00 tonight.
LEMON: I am.
BANFIELD: And something tells me this is going to be a fuller conversation at 10:00.
LEMON: You think they'll let me talk about this.
BANFIELD: I watch you every night, my friend. I stay up late and I get up early.
LEMON: CNN "SPECIAL REPORT" at 10:00 p.m.
BANFIELD: And Anderson's program tonight, as well, is going to have the interview with Magic Johnson, so there's so much more to the fallout of this. And, by the way, isn't it great in a weird way that we're having these conversations publicly?
BANFIELD: And that there is a lot of -- I remember when I was a cub reporter in this country. I arrived in this country almost two decades ago. And I asked if I could do a special about race, because I was so amazed at what I was witnessing. And I was told there are some things you don't speak of. And now that's not true.
LEMON: You wanted to do a special about race when you were 5-years- old?
BANFIELD: I was 5-years-old. You are invited back, every day, my co- host Don Lemon. Do you know who's really happy about that interview last night? This family.
BANFIELD: Oh, dear god.
LEMON: Or as Chris Cuomo called her, Solange.
BANFIELD: Jay Z, being called crazy, the elevator feud. I mean, family feud, please. This is almost X-rated in its violence. We're going to talk about why the Beyonce Knowles' family is not the least bit thrilled about secret elevator tapes getting out in the public.