January 24, 2013
Lawyer: Manti Te'o's phone calls with fake girlfriend were actually with a man
By QMI Agency
The tale of Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o's phoney relationship took another bizarre twist.
The voice of Lennay Kekua, the person Te'o thought he was having all-night phone conversations with last year, turned out to be that of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the hoax, according to the scammer's attorney.
Te'o "thought it was a female he was talking with," Tuiasosopo's lawyer, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. "It was Ronaiah as Lennay."
Te'o apparently never realized Tuiasosopo was disguising his voice to portray Kekua. Grimes likened his client's actions to an actor putting on a performance.
"Come on, Hollywood does it all the time," Grimes said Wednesday. "People can do that."
The news broke hours before a recorded interview with the Heisman Trophy finalist -- during which he admitted to ABC's Katie Couric that he lied to the media about the death of his nonexistent girlfriend after learning about the hoax -- was set to air Thursday afternoon.
During that interview, Couric played three voicemails by the person portraying Kekua. Here they are:
One Kekua left on what she said was her first day of chemo treatment.
One left on Sept. 11 after claiming to be released from hospital.
An emotional one where where she said a girl answered Te'o's phone during a previous call.