The bizarre Manti Te’o fake girlfriend frenzy reached a new low ― with a high-pitched confession.
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.”
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The soul-baring chats between the star linebacker and the man posing as his phantom girlfriend were the linchpin of their fake fairy-tale romance. But Te’o apparently never realized it was Tuiasosopo disguising his voice to assume the persona of stunning, sassy Stanford coed Kekua.
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Grimes, best known for helping Rodney King win a multimillion-dollar judgment against the city of Los Angeles,Michael Kors Tote Cheap Michael Kors Handbags Outl
, compared the deception to an actor playing a role.
“Come on,Michael Kors Outlet Online Cheap Michael Kors Handbags O
, Hollywood does it all the time,” Grimes said Wednesday. “People Michael Kors Outlet
can do that.”
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The photos of Lennay were swiped from the Facebook page of Diane O’Meara, a high school classmate of Tuiasosopo.
Tuiasosopo’s résumé includes vocal and dramatic training. He was president of Cheap Michael Kors
his high school drama club, performs with a Christian band and auditioned last year for the TV talent show “The Voice.”
Grimes insisted that former high school Michael Kors Charlton Crossbody Bag
football star Tuiasosopo, 22, wasn’t trying to hurt or humiliate Te’o.
Pater Kramer/NBC NewsWire via Reuters;Nick Stern
Diane O'Meara (l.) is the unsuspecting woman whose photos are used to fool Manti Te'o. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (r.) is the master mind behind the hoax and impersonates a female voice on the phone.
“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes told The News. “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 declined to answer when asked to elaborate on his client’s intentions or what type of relationship he wanted with the college football star: “I wouldn’t describe his issues at this time.”
Te’o, in an interview with Katie Couric, said he painted himself into a corner with all the attention surrounding his relationship and Kekua’s “death” on Sept. 12.
The moving tale of the girlfriend’s battle with leukemia Michael Kors Charlton Crossbody
became a touchstone of the Fighting Irish season, particularly after Te’o announced that she passed away on the same day as his beloved Michael Kors Hamilton Large
Te’o denied any role in the hoax,Michael Kors Hamilton Cheap M
, but admitted perpetuating the story even after a Dec. 6 phone call from “Lennay” insisting she faked her death to dodge drug dealers.
J. Meric/Getty Images
Te'o runs drills to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft.
The voice on the other end of that incredible phone call belonged to Tuiasosopo, according to Grimes.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation,” Te’o said in the interview that airs in full Thursday. “This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12. Now I get a phone call on Dec. 5, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going to be put on national TV two days later.”
Grimes said the delay in his client’s making a public statement is tied to a California law that went into effect Jan. 1 ― making it a crime to create a false identity online.
Tuiasosopo is seeing a mental health professional and wants to tell his side of the story, the lawyer said.
Grimes did insist that the timing of Kekua’s tragic “demise,” within hours of the grandmother’s death, was just a strange coincidence.
And he was adamant his client is a good guy who simply made a mistake.
“He’s torn by this,” Grimes said. “He didn’t mean for anyone to be hurt. Anything that he Michael Kors Outlet Online
has done, he has apologized to those he could apologize to.”
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