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Donald Sterling

Grilled by

Anderson Cooper

5/11/2014 11:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
0511-anderson-cooper-sterling-interview-instagram-03Barbara Walters may have gotten the mistress and the wife, but Anderson Cooper got the grand prize Sunday ... a sit down with Donald Sterling ... TMZ has learned.

Cooper flew in to Los Angeles this morning, checked into his hotel, and made a bee-line to Sterling's Beverly Hills house, where the interview went down.

Before the interview, Sterling met with his lawyer, who was not present during the interview with Cooper. The interview will air Monday night on "Anderson Cooper 360."

TMZ shot video of Anderson leaving the house after the interview, but he was mum.

Our sources say Sterling has been champing at the bit to publicly defend himself against racism allegations after TMZ Sports posted the now famous recording.

This was Anderson's second bite at the apple -- last week, he tried convincing Sterling to do the interview ... but failed. For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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