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Attorney says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was voice behind Te’o hoax too

KATIE COURIC, MANTI TE'O AP

Yep, this is actually happening. And the strange story surrounding Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, continues to get relentlessly more bizarre.

Te’o has stated multiple times that the supposedly online/long distance relationship he had with Kekua included phone calls that oftentimes lasted upward of eight hours as Te’o would fall asleep with the phone on. Seeing as the public face of Kekua is Diane O’Mearawho claims to have “never met… never spoke with… never exchanged words, tweet[s]” with Te’o nor had any idea she was part of a hoax, the next natural question would be who was on the other end of the line during those lengthy phone calls?

According to one claim, that voice — or perhaps some altered version — belonged to the alleged “mastermind” behind the Kekua hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo’s attorney, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News that Te’o “thought it was a female he was talking with” over the phone when “it was Ronaiah as Lennay.” Consistently and believably for hours and months on end, apparently.

(Update: Couric’s website had three voicemails allegedly from Kekua on her website. However, that page no longer exists. However again, Deadspin has picked up on them. You can listen to them HERE.) 

Come on, Hollywood does it all the time,” Grimes said. “People can do that.”

The Daily News adds that Tuiasosopo was “president of his high school drama club, performs with a Christian band and auditioned last year for the TV talent show ‘The Voice.’”

“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes told the paper. “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.”

Though Norman Bates thinks that explanation checks out fine, it adds another twisted layer to a hoax that already contains a story from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser alleging Kekua faked her own death last September to avoid drug dealers.

Three months after that supposedly staged death, Te’o said he received a call from Kekua’s number on the day of the ESPN College Football Awards (Dec. 6). It wasn’t until roughly three weeks later that Te’o informed Notre Dame of the hoax.

“Katie, put yourself in my situation,” Te’o told Couric in a preview of his on-camera interview aired on Good Morning America. “I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12.

“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”

Te’o has also participated in one off-camera interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap where he acknowledged “catering” his stories about Kekua. However, Te’o claims that he did not play any role in the hoax.

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44 Responses to “Attorney says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was voice behind Te’o hoax too”
  1. mydixienormus says: Jan 24, 2013 9:37 AM

    Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any weirder…

    This Tuiasosopo dude is a sick bastard. I am still trying to figure out what he got out of this?

  2. chicagoirish23 says: Jan 24, 2013 9:39 AM

    I believe Manti and feel bad for him during all this but man I hope he didn’t have phone sex w/ this girl because if he did…yikes!

  3. xtremesportsmaniac says: Jan 24, 2013 9:47 AM

    It’s a man baby!

  4. thegamecocker says: Jan 24, 2013 9:48 AM

    @chicagoirish

    no,no,no…when Swarbrick made his statement and started crying that “Manti will never be able to trust again….”, that was hogwash!! Manti soon moved onto another girlfriend (this one alive and well…a real human being) right after Lannay Kekua died (this is just too funny…sorry). The live girl and Manti broke up. He learned how to trust again and Swarbrick is a fake, phony, fraud who thought he was in front of a jury instead of John Q. Public! He is absolutely reprehensible and Te’o is too.

    But let’s be respectful here….”a woman who never existed has died.”

  5. xtremesportsmaniac says: Jan 24, 2013 9:53 AM

    Lennay Kekua is a man!

  6. polegojim says: Jan 24, 2013 10:01 AM

    If Tui did spent that much time on the phone with Te’o… talk about the need to GET A LIFE!!!

  7. florida727 says: Jan 24, 2013 10:04 AM

    If this guy didn’t have a Michael Jackson voice, how the heck did Te’o not know it was a guy? This story gets more weird by the day. Would love to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall during his interviews at the NFL Combine. That could have high entertainment value.

  8. mydixienormus says: Jan 24, 2013 10:10 AM

    Your gun is digging into my hip…

  9. samnitrile says: Jan 24, 2013 10:14 AM

    OMG…WTF? Manti is probably barfing all over the place. I don’t get it, of all things this stupid lawyer shares…it is this…to make things worse…what the f….seriously…this announcement seems very calculated on their part…what is the intention…what are they waiting for…to ruin Manti even more…no integrity…

  10. shackdelrio says: Jan 24, 2013 10:21 AM

    So Te’o is pretty much the nerdy guy from Bachelor Party?

  11. thegamecocker says: Jan 24, 2013 10:23 AM

    @mydixienormous

    YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN!!! LOL…THANK YOU!

  12. btrain25 says: Jan 24, 2013 10:27 AM

    Nice little beard he had going there.

  13. bulldozer20 says: Jan 24, 2013 10:30 AM

    What the… That’s it! Einhorn is Finkle! Finkle is Einhorn! Einhorn is a man!

  14. sportsdrenched says: Jan 24, 2013 10:36 AM

    I’m shocked that a former Raider would do something like this. just shocked.

  15. chachooga says: Jan 24, 2013 10:37 AM

    Bulldozer2o….i was just gonna do that! hahaha

    My opinion that means nothing. But, who cares if he catered the story, he thought it was real, the press I am sure pressed him for details and blah blah blah. Since it went on for months, I am sure when he first heard it was possibly untrue, he would probably defend it as true initially….well because it is really embarrassing if not true. And here we are.

    This is why I wish ESPN/ABC/Disney would quit the lame stories they push through all the games I try to watch!!!

    Was anyone else so happy FOX carried games this year??? I mean the announcer was yelling on most huge plays and actually calling the game.

    Get ESPN/ABC/Disney out of sports….they have sold out for whatever reason….get me back to calling the games and talking about the games! Enough of the social agenda and touching stories…. PLEASE!!!!!

  16. chicagoirish23 says: Jan 24, 2013 10:51 AM

    @ thegamecocker -

    I don’t think you followed what Swarbrick was talking about. He didn’t say Te’o could never move on to love another women. I don’t know what the appropriate time for someone to grieve is, even for a fake g/f.

    I think he’s talking about having the ability to trust someone at face value. It’s not about trust over time. Manti took everyone for their word and didn’t question. That’s a problem on him now and he’ll never be able to do that again. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to trust someone over time.

    Go Irish!

  17. mella21 says: Jan 24, 2013 10:59 AM

    I realize this website, among others, loves this story because its so salacious and you guys want to give Deadspin this watershed victory. They cynical tone in the original story you guys printed shows you were eager to expose the fraud that is manti Te’o.

    But everyone has gotten their pound of flesh. It’s time to move on and just let this thing die. I get that it’s also about Notre Dame and he was a big deal prior to the National Championship. But seriously, this isn’t about you guys anymore.

  18. kccisme says: Jan 24, 2013 11:02 AM

    I feel this is fitting.

  19. TxGrown says: Jan 24, 2013 11:19 AM

    “mydixienormus says:
    Jan 24, 2013 9:37 AM

    Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any weirder…

    This Tuiasosopo dude is a sick bastard. I am still trying to figure out what he got out of this?”
    =================================================================
    Maybe Tuiasosopo thought that Teo’s dix was enormus…

  20. caldreaming says: Jan 24, 2013 11:25 AM

    These two idiots deserve each other. There is a high probability that one, and more likely, both are gay.

  21. mogogo1 says: Jan 24, 2013 11:28 AM

    How exactly did Te’o manage to complete classwork or learn plays if he’s this off-the-wall stupid? That’s not being naive, it’s being gullible to such an incredible degree that every con-man in North America is putting together their schemes to take all his NFL money away.

  22. danolson68 says: Jan 24, 2013 11:29 AM

    Will this story ever make sense?

  23. llfreedman says: Jan 24, 2013 11:33 AM

    I find this interesting that anyone believes a word of any of this story…

  24. lrg51 says: Jan 24, 2013 11:36 AM

    Naïve + Stupidity = Complicity

    “catering his stories” = nice spin on words.

    “put yourself in my situation” = I would not be caught dead having an online relationship and calling the person my girlfriend.

    Really Manti? You think most of us in the rest of the world buy this crap. Let it go…

  25. Ben Kercheval says: Jan 24, 2013 11:42 AM

    I realize this website, among others, loves this story because its so salacious and you guys want to give Deadspin this watershed victory. They cynical tone in the original story you guys printed shows you were eager to expose the fraud that is manti Te’o.

    But everyone has gotten their pound of flesh. It’s time to move on and just let this thing die. I get that it’s also about Notre Dame and he was a big deal prior to the National Championship. But seriously, this isn’t about you guys anymore.

    ——————-

    Go complain to someone who cares, mella21.

  26. klownboy says: Jan 24, 2013 11:54 AM

    So let’s see, either Te’o was in it from the beginning, or he is the most gullible, stupidest square on the planet.

  27. overeazy says: Jan 24, 2013 12:00 PM

    The whole situation is crazy and this just adds to it. You know what is even crazier on what some people are willing to believe. I think anyone that feels they have the right to express their opinion should at least have taken the time to do some research before expressing it. After looking at everything that has been written the only way you could say Manti was not the victim would be your need to build your own self esteem by spewing hateful comments against someone you do not even know.

    Manti is the victim and yet everyone wants to question and pick apart any excuse he tries to give.
    Tuiasosopo is the perpetrator here and yet when he has his attorney say that he was the only one talking to Manti we are all ready to believe him. Maybe I am the only one wondering if he is trying to take the fall himself and is covering up for others.
    Victim suffers humiliation for cruel hoax and we all think the perpetrator is the one telling the truth. Yes this is really crazy.

  28. normtide says: Jan 24, 2013 12:20 PM

    OK, now Manti had suffered enough. This is something he will never live down. Good luck young man.

  29. canetic says: Jan 24, 2013 12:36 PM

    What’s the deal with that sweater?

  30. thegamecocker says: Jan 24, 2013 12:45 PM

    @JohnTaylor

    John:
    News about this story keeps popping up and many of us find it so humorous. Why squelch the fun? When the news stops appearing then the story becomes old and people will stop writing posts about it. I don’t understand why this site wants us to stop? Who are we hurting?

  31. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jan 24, 2013 12:58 PM

    This story is getting weird.

  32. zgroovemeister says: Jan 24, 2013 1:53 PM

    When is the media going to stop guarding Manti’s closet door? Te’o and Tuiasosopo had a long distance homosexual relationship, and they were using the Lenny Kukua persona as cover for their gay love affair. He was the one Te’o talked to on the phone for hours while they whispered sweet nothings into each others ears. I called this when it started, and to this day stupid ignorant people still refuse to see it. Let me put that another way: if you do not now realize that Manti Te’o is gay and Roniah Tuiasosopo is his boyfriend, you are most definitely a stupid and ignorant moron.

  33. irishdodger says: Jan 24, 2013 1:56 PM

    It’s sad when the kid would have been better off being busted for drugs, sexual assault, domestic violence, theft of property, DUI, vehicular manslaughter, illegal possession of firearms, etc. At least the NFL and fans “respect” that.

    I wish journalists were as dogged investigative reporters regarding our POTUS as opposed to a 21-yr old college kid. This country is f$&?ed.

  34. misterzurkon says: Jan 24, 2013 2:28 PM

    Theory: The kids are homosexuals. They had to create an elaborate ruse to keep from being discovered. When Manti was to be at the Heisman ceremony and graduating, it would be expected that his girlfriend would be there. So they “killed” her. The ruse was necessary because he was going to be drafted into the most repressed, insular culture in America – the NFL. Also, he attends a Catholic school. Wait, that’s the most repressed, insular culture in America. Anyway, the cover couldn’t be maintained, so they tried another.

    Holes maybe, but it’s a start. Otherwise, it’s all just nuts.

  35. florida727 says: Jan 24, 2013 2:48 PM

    Hey Ben, don’t dignify the idiot posts on here with a response. Believe it or not, there are some of us that get our insights/news/opinions by reading what you and John write because we don’t have time to read or watch lengthy newscasts or whatever. What you do is appreciated by the vast majority of us here on CFT. I know it’s your job, but thanks just the same for doing it as well as you both do.

  36. nuggets43 says: Jan 24, 2013 4:03 PM

    Zgroove and zurkon,

    If they’re a gay couple and Manti created the Kekua personality with Tuiasosopo, wouldn’t it be the dumbest thing in the world to kill her off and talk about her constantly? If they’re clever (and stupid) enough to hatch a weird scheme like that, why would Manti purposely draw a ton of attention to his fake girlfriend? That’s just begging to be caught. Wouldn’t “breaking up” be the logical thing to do if you’re not trying to be exposed? Lennay “died” when ND was 2-0. No one thought Manti would be going to the Heisman ceremony, so why couldn’t the cover be maintained in mid September? We also know Tuiasosopo used the Kekua persona on a handful of others. Was that all part of the plot? And why did Tuiasosopo ask O’Meara for a specific picture of her holding up a sign for Manti if he wasn’t actually trying to trick Manti?

    The problem with conspiracy theories is that they don’t get vetted the same way the official story does.

  37. classyjacklambert says: Jan 24, 2013 4:07 PM

    Hawaiians have a freaking weird sense of humor.

  38. overeazy says: Jan 24, 2013 4:37 PM

    Zgroove, No I do not think Manti is gay but then again I am not questioning my own sexuality. I guess in your opinion I am “most definitely a stupid and ignorant moron.” I will leave the judging of which one of us really is to those with a maturity level above third grade.

  39. misterzurkon says: Jan 24, 2013 4:44 PM

    nuggets43 – Good points. Well, I said it had some holes. How it’s playing out is just too weird, though. Oh well.

    “We also know Tuiasosopo used the Kekua persona on a handful of others.”

    That I was not aware of.

  40. mella21 says: Jan 24, 2013 4:46 PM

    zgroovemeister says: Jan 24, 2013 1:53 PM

    When is the media going to stop guarding Manti’s closet door? Te’o and Tuiasosopo had a long distance homosexual relationship, and they were using the Lenny Kukua persona as cover for their gay love affair.
    ***************************************

    This comment is so myopic and narrow. Once myspace became popular, which now seems like eons ago, people have been perpetrating fake profiles and living all sorts of fictitious internet lives. I have no idea how they keep the charade going for as long as they do, but supposedly “kekua” had a twitter profile as well and many of Te’o’s friends were following her! If

    I remember a friend of mine in High School having a bf that she was ‘in love’ with, yet every time she offered to fly out and meet him in person, there was an excuse. This went on for about 2 years with many misadventures and hilarious excuses.

  41. mella21 says: Jan 24, 2013 4:54 PM

    It’s sad when the kid would have been better off being busted for drugs, sexual assault, domestic violence, theft of property, DUI, vehicular manslaughter, illegal possession of firearms, etc. At least the NFL and fans “respect” that.

    I wish journalists were as dogged investigative reporters regarding our POTUS as opposed to a 21-yr old college kid. This country is f$&?ed.
    **********************************

    Aside from the POTUS part, I agree with this sentiment. This doesn’t feel like it belongs in a news headline anymore. Once the fake gf was unearthed, I understand it had to get coverage because he had mentioned her in his public statements. But now it just feels like we’re digging to know every little detail as if the public is entitled to it. But I don’t see why we would be.

  42. thegamecocker says: Jan 24, 2013 9:52 PM

    Man this just keeps getting better and better….Lanny accuses Manti he has a girl in his room…..wonderful stuff…ND should be embarrassed! What next: Swarbrick President of NAMBLA? LOL

  43. forever9ers says: Jan 25, 2013 2:53 AM

    Safe to say at least one of these two guys is gay, or both of them.

  44. stonecoldstunna says: Jan 25, 2013 7:19 AM

    how do we know that these two kids aren’t both gay?

    it’s not they are going to come out and admit it, but maybe they were boyfriends, friends with benifits ot what the hell ever, but think about it, both have reasons to not come out and admit they had/have a relationship..

    just throwing it out there

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