The Manti T’eo fake girlfriend controversy just keeps getting weirder. The latest claim casts doubt on the idea that hoaxer Ronaiah Tuiasosopo affected a fake female voice during phone calls with Te’o. Rather, family members argue that the Notre Dame star was indeed talking to a woman, possibly Ronaiah’s cousin.
Though Tuiasosopo’s lawyer claimed that Manti Te’o was speaking to his client, a male, recorded voicemails supposedly from Lennay Kekua sounded like a woman to Katie Couric when they were played for her during her interview with Manti Te’o. The hypothesis was backed up by members of Tuiasosopo’s family who tell the New York Post that the voice belongs to Ronaiah’s female cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” said a Tuiasosopo cousin. Another who heard the voicemails said “There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s Tino.”
One recording from a hysterical “Lennay” has the hoaxer accusing Manti Te’o of cheating on her after another woman answered his phone. “I don’t know who answered your phone . . . I don’t care. [Inaudible] I’m trying. You made it clear what you want. Take care.”
One of Tuiasosopo’s family argued, “That’s the way [Tino] cries when she’s feeling sorry for herself. Its her, that’s the voice.”
So why is this only coming out now? MSN notes that the popular theory is that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s lawyer lied about his client’s “falsetto” so that Ronaiah could take the rap for the whole scam.
In any case, neither Tino nor her father were available for comment. A possible motive for Tino’s involvement is a long-distance relationship that ended badly right around the time Te’o met “Lennay Kekua.” Tino told her family members that she was talking to a new man, a football player from Notre Dame.
At the very least, it seems that Manti Te’o was talking to a pretty girl after all.