January 25, 2013
Tuiasosopo's relatives: Te'o 'girlfriend' voice came from a woman
By THE SPORTS XCHANGE
The voice on the other end of the line that spoke to former Notre Dame linebacker Mantai Te’o came from a woman. At least that’s what relatives of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the girlfriend hoax, told the New York Post in an interview.
An attorney’s assertion a day earlier that the voice of Lennay Kekua was a man’s apparently is not true. Tuiasosopo’s family says it was a cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” one of Tuiasosopo’s cousins told the Post.
According to the newspaper, Tino Tuiasosopo lives in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and works for her father.
Apparently, it’s not the first time she has been involved in such a scheme. She reportedly had a similar long-distance phone relationship in late 2011.
After hearing Te’o’s voicemails from the girlfriend Thursday on Katie Couric’s television show, the relatives were convinced it was Tino Tuiasosopo.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s Tino,” the cousin said.
Te’o told Couric that the voice didn’t sound like a man’s to him. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s lawyer, Milton Grimes, had told the Post that his client was speaking to Te’o all along.
“It was Ronaiah as Lennay,” Grimes said.
A Tuiasosopo relative thinks Grimes made that claim so Tuiasosopo can “take the rap.”
“If (Ronaiah) somehow made that voice, that’s incredible, that’s an incredible talent to do that,” Te’o said. “Especially every single day.”
Te’o has maintained that he had no part in the hoax and didn’t suspect he was being duped until Dec. 6.