LOS ANGELES (CBSNews.com) - A response filed with the NBA Tuesday by embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling claims that the league's use of an "illegally recorded" conversation that took place during a "lovers' quarrel" cannot be used to strip him of his ownership, CBS Los Angeles said.
The league is currently working to force a sale of the team, based on racially inflammatory comments that were caught on tape during a conversation between Sterling and companion V. Stiviano.
Sterling, in a response to the NBA's statement of the charges against him, said he should not be forced out as an owner.
"The NBA's use of this illegal recording constitutes a clear and blatant violation of Mr. Sterling's California constitutional rights," said the document, which was obtained by USA Today. Sterling's lawyer confirmed the report to CBS News.
"The authors of the charge did not have the courage, decency or honesty to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sterling's jealous rant or even that the source of their information was born from the 'fruit of the poisonous tree.'
"So, in reality, Mr. Sterling is being banned for life, fined $2.5 million and stripped of his ownership for a purely private conversation with his lover, that he did not know was being recorded, and that he never intended would see the light of day," the document said.
Sterling's attorney, Max Blecher, told USA TODAY Sports late Tuesday that Sterling isn't interested in selling the Clippers, contrary to a statement made Tuesday by his wife's attorney.
Shelly Sterling's lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, asserted that, "Donald Sterling has authorized Shelly Sterling in writing to negotiate the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, including his 50 percent ownership of the team. Shelly is managing the sale of the Clippers. While no formal offers have yet been received, Shelly and the NBA are working cooperatively on the transaction."
Tuesday marked a deadline, set by the league, for Sterling to respond to the allegations against him. The NBA said it had received responses from Sterling and his wife, Shelly.
"The NBA Board of Governors will meet on June 3 at 1 p.m. in New York City to hear and vote upon this matter," Executive Vice President of Communications Mike Bass said. "Should the Board vote to sustain the charge, the Sterlings' interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold."
A two-thirds vote of the board is required for the move to proceed.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life from the league and fining him $2.5 million after the recorded conversation became public.
On the recording, Sterling is heard chastising Stiviano for appearing in photographs with black people -- including a specific discussion on Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson -- and bringing them to Clippers games.
In a subsequent interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sterling claimed that he was not a racist, and that he had been "baited" into making the comments. He also told Cooper that Johnson was a poor role model because he had contracted HIV and has not, in Sterling's opinion, done much for black people.
Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million. Forbes recently valued the team at around $575 million, making it the league's 13th most valuable franchise.
Sterling, in his response to the NBA, insists he was illegally recorded without his knowledge, and thus none of his comments can be used against him. He also contends he has not violated the NBA's constitution, saying, "A jealous rant to a lover never intended to be published cannot offend the NBA rules."
Sterling said he was "distraught" during the conversation, and having a "jealous reaction to Ms. Stiviano's statement that she was going to 'bring four gorgeous black guys to the game.'"
Sterling also maintains that his comments to Cooper didn't break any NBA rules, saying that, while his "opinions may be unpopular and false, they remain opinions."
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