Thursday, January 24, 2013
Manti Te'o was talking to a man
By Matt Fortuna
The woman whose picture was used to create Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend has been identified, but the voice of the woman who had hours of late-night phone calls with the Notre Dame star linebacker has remained silent. Turns out that's because it reportedly was a man.
The lawyer for the man who has been identified as the person behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, told the New York Daily News that his client disguised his voice and assumed the identity of Lennay Kekua to try to develop a relationship with Te'o.
Milton Grimes said that Te'o "thought it was a female he was talking with. It was Ronaiah as Lennay."
Te'o appeared on Katie Couric's television show this week to explain his role in the hoax, and he also supplied voice mails to the program that he says are from the person who he thought was Kekua. While the quality of the recording is not great on all of the clips, the voice does sound feminine. The clips were posted earlier Thursday on Couric's website but are no longer available.
Grimes said that Tuiasosopo wasn't trying to hurt Te'o.
"This wasn't a prank to make fun," Grimes said, according to the newspaper. "It was establishing a communication with someone. ... It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship."
Grimes wouldn't characterize the type of relationship Tuiasosopo wanted with the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
"I wouldn't describe his issues at this time," he said to the Daily News.