This is perhaps the most bizarre piece of hard evidence to come out of the whole Manti Te’o hoax so far.
Te’o told his story to ABC’s Katie Couric in an interview airing Thursday, in which he denies being involved with the hoax.
The former Notre Dame football star also gave Couric audio of voicemails that “Lennay Kekua” left for him during their 11-month long distance relationship. Phone records indicate that Te’o spent over 500 hours on the phone with a number that he thought belonged to his girlfriend. (RELATED: Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend really racked up his cell phone bill)
In one message, the person pretending to be Lennay Kekua says that it is her first day of chemotherapy. In another, she (he?) accuses Te’o of having someone else in his room, and the third is the last voicemail Kekua left before her fake death.
Do these voicemails sound like they are from a woman, or a man pretending to be a woman?
Te’o has said that the brains behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, had a female accomplice. But these voicemails certainly sound like they are coming from a man using a falsetto voice.
Tuiasosopo’s lawyer, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News that his client did in fact pretend to be Lennay Kekua on the phone, saying, “Come on, Hollywood does it all the time. People can do that.”
“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes said. “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.”
If that is the case, Te’o spent days of his life on the phone with not his dying girlfriend, but a troubled young man pulling a very, very twisted scheme. Grimes said that his client wants to share his side of the story, so hopefully we will know what was going through Tuiasosopo’s head soon.