Another day, another bombshell in the Manti Te’o hoax saga…and this one may trump them all.
The Manti Te’o interview with Katie Couric will air tonight (Thursday) during which the Notre Dame standout will open up about the ‘catfish’ hoax to which he fell victim. When the interview was taped, earlier this week, the man who confessed to it had not yet spoken publicly. But today, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s attorney has dropped a shocking bombshell: the voice of Manti Te’s ‘girlfriend’ was actually a man. “[Te’o] thought it was a female he was talking with. It was Ronaiah as Lennay,” Ronaiah Tuiasocopo’s attorney, Milton Grimes reveals to the Daily News.
According to new reports the Te’o hoax was a one man show — there were not cousins or females involved as has been previously reported. How, then, did Tuiasopopo manage to trick Manti Te’o into thinking he was speaking with a woman? According to the Daily News, Tuiasopopo had extensive “dramatic and vocal training.”
Tuiasopopo’s high-profile attorney, who represented Rodney King against the city of Los Angeles, says the intention of one of the most bizarre sports stories in recent history wasn’t to “make fun” of Te’o. “It was establishing a communication with someone,” Grimes claims. “It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship.” Grimes refused to elaborate on that statement saying only he wouldn’t describe Tuiasopopo’s “issues” at the present time.
Manti Te’o’s story — in which he learned of his grandmother and girlfriend’s deaths on the same day — became a story of inspiration. It wasn’t until three months after the supposed death of Lennay that he started to suspect things weren’t as they seemed. On Dec., 6 Te’o received a called from Lennay Kekua’s phone number. The person claimed to be Lennay and admitted she faked her own death. Te’o told his family and coaches of his suspicions on Dec., 26, but the story. Last week, the Deadspin.com report — claiming Lennay never existed — broke hinting at an elaborate hoax. Since then, the so-called ‘catfishing’ story has unraveled in a bizarre series of twists and shocking revelations.
Tonight, as Manti Te’o speaks for the first time on camera about the odd and confusing ordeal, sports fans and the world are waiting to hear his side of the story. But with the Tuiasopopo’s new confession that he was actually the voice of Manti Teo’s fake girlfriend, it’s clear viewers will only hear half the story — and perhaps not even the most interesting part.
The Manti Te’o Katie Couric interview airs tonight at