V. Stiviano friend may have leaked tape in Sterling scandal, lawyer says

How did the tape that led NBA officials to conclude Clippers owner Donald Sterling had made incendiary racial comments about African Americans become public?

V. Stiviano's attorney has a theory.

He said his client gave copies of the recording to a handful of friends for “safekeeping” and believes one of them sold the tape, her attorney said Thursday.

“One of those friends apparently wanted to make money and sold it to TMZ,” said Calabasas lawyer Mac Nehoray.

PHOTOS: Who is V. Stiviano?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has determined that the voice on the tapes is Donald Sterling’s. Stiviano's attorney denied suggestions by Clippers officials that Stiviano had leaked the recording to “get even” for a lawsuit filed by Sterling’s wife, Shelly. He said that Stiviano had been making recordings of Sterling on her phone for months with his knowledge.

Then, Nehoray said, “a few months back” something occurred – he declined to say what – that prompted his client to make duplicate copies and send them to three or four friends, some outside the country.

“Based on what she was being told, she was just afraid she would lose possession of them,” Nehoray said.

On the tape, Sterling chastizes Stiviano for associating publicly with African Americans and tells her not to bring them to Clippers games.

Earlier this week, Nehoray said Stiviano said she was "devastated that this got out."

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