Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, posing as the mysterious Lennay Kekua, was the falsetto voice on the other end of the all-night phone calls with the Notre Dame star, the scammer’s lawyer said. The Heisman Trophy finalist “thought it was a female he was talking with,” lawyer Milton Grimes acknowledged to the Daily News. “It was Ronaiah as Lennay.” [The Daily News]
THE NOTRE Dame hoax keeps getting wilder and more unbelievable.
Katie Couric did as solid and direct an interview as you’re ever going to see, especially on daytime TV.
Earlier this week, the lawyer of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo claimed that his client imitated the voice of a woman over the phone to Manti Te’o for well over 500 hours. According to a relative of Ronaiah, the lawyer’s lying. Voicemails left by “Lennay Kekua” to Manti Te’o went public yesterday, and after hearing the voice of Lennay, a cousin of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo claims that voice belongs to Tino Tuiasosopo, according to the New York Post. Tino is another cousin of Ronaiah and lives on the island of American Samoa. [Buzzfeed]
As our colleague Brian Stelter has reported, the spokesman hired by Te’o’s family in recent days, Matthew Hiltzik, is also the longtime spokesman for Katie Couric. The ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap interviewed Te’o for two and a half hours last week, but Te’o’s representatives insisted that it take place off-camera.
The ruse apparently worked on many, many hours on the phone. A source close to Te’o gave ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap documents that the source says are Te’o’s AT&T phone records from May 11 to Sept. 12, the date Kekua supposedly died of leukemia. The logs are not originals, but rather spreadsheets sent via emails, and could not be independently verified.
The records show that in the four-month span — when Te’o has said he believed Kekua to be in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from an accident and being treated for cancer — Te’o made and received more than 1,000 calls totaling more than 500 hours in length from the same number in the 661 area code. The 661 area code covers Lancaster, Calif., which is part of Los Angeles County. The source told Schaap that Te’o believed the 661 phone number in question was Kekua’s.
Rumors also swirled that this whole thing began to cover Manti Te’o allegedly being gay, which Couric asked about in their interview.
“No, far from it. Faaaaarrrr from it.” – Manti Te’o
It’s truly an amazing thing to consider that a Notre Dame football star could be so ignorant about the web and continue believing he had a girlfriend he’d not ever met.
Someone at Notre Dame needs to be held accountable for this, because it was totally unethical, especially for a school that postures on morality and religious rectitude.
“Notre Dame has not done a very good job being transparent or upholding the higher moral ground we act like we’re on.” – Serena Mathews, Notre Dame student and chemical engineering major