So who was it that Manti Te'o was speaking on the phone with every night, if it wasn't his beautiful e-girlfriend Lennay Kekua? According to a lawyer for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the California man at the center of the world's most gratuitous prank, Lennay's voice was supplied by ... Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. The Daily News reports:
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.”
“Come on, Hollywood does it all the time,” Grimes said Wednesday. “People can do that.”
We guess they can, particularly if the person they're trying to convince appears to be the most naive man on the planet. But there's also reason for skepticism here. If Kekua was being impersonated by a female accomplice, you can imagine Tuiasosopo shouldering all the blame to protect her anonymity and spare her from being dragged into this sordid affair.
Also, for what it's worth, Te'o told ESPN last week that Tuiasosopo already fessed up to executing the hoax with the help of another guy and another girl.
JEREMY SCHAAP: A direct message?
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, a direct message on Twitter: Hey, it's the 16th. You wanted to know the truth. And I've found peace with you knowing the truth. I have two people that I want to come clean with and that's you and your family. I'm not going to say anything to the press. I just want you to know the truth. And God bless, and blah, blah, blah.
JEREMY SCHAAP: Who was that person you talked to all those nights on the phone?
MANTI TE'O: Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing.
JEREMY SCHAAP: Who are they?
MANTI TE'O: I don't know. I don't know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one.
JEREMY SCHAAP: One of the two?
MANTI TE'O: One of two guys and a girl.
JEREMY SCHAAP: So it wasn't the same person playing the role of Lennay every night?
MANTI TE'O: I don't know.
So, again, we're taking this revelation with a grain of salt for now. But hey, you never know. It worked for Michael Dorsey, and he had the added handicap of looking exactly like Dustin Hoffman the whole time.
Update: Listen for yourself to three voicemails which, according to Te'o, were left for him by the person pretending to be Kekua. If that really is a man pretending to be a woman, then it's a damn good impression.