Manti Te’o’s beautiful fake girlfriend, the one whom he spent multiple hours on the phone with, was actually a man.
[Related: Instant reaction: Manti Te'o tells his story]
Milton Grimes, lawyer to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who is accused of creating the hoax, told the New York Daily News that it was a one-man show and that his client impersonated the voice of Lennay Kekua, the woman Te’o came to know as his beloved girlfriend.
“[Te’o] thought it was a female he was talking with,” Grimes told the Daily News. “It was Ronaiah as Lennay.”
Cue any and all Ace Ventura jokes.
Grimes, who is best known for representing Rodney King against the City of Los Angeles, said his client has yet to speak publicly about the hoax because of a new law the State of California enacted on Jan. 1 making it a crime to create a false identity online.
“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 elaborate on the type of relationship Tuiasosopo wanted from Te’o saying, “I wouldn’t describe his issues at this time.”
Tuiasosopo’s background includes dramatic and vocal training, which might explain how he could have fooled Te’o – during 1000’s of hours of conversation – that he was a woman and not a man. Still, it’s hard to believe that Te’o couldn’t distinguish between a grown man’s voice and that of a seductive young woman.
Grimes said Tuiasosopo is seeing a mental health professional, but wants to tell his side of the story.
“He’s torn by this,” Grimes said. “He didn’t mean for anyone to be hurt. Anything that he has done, he has apologized to those he could apologize to.”
This story has taken some strange turns, but this is by far the most bizarre simply because it’s the most unbelievable. How could Te’o not know he was talking to a man for a year unless Tuiasosopo has the highest-pitched voice of any man ever? Guess we won’t know until he actually speaks to the public.
In the meantime, we’re left with one of the best scenes from the Jim Carey movie Ace Ventura.
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