As The Te’o Saga Turns: Now Tuiasosopo Relatives Say A Woman Voiced “Lennay Kekua” After All

  • Glenn Davis

In a story full of twists and turns that only served to make the entire overarching issue even more bizarre, this one actually clears things up a bit. Well, kind of. Yesterday, you might remember some truly mystifying comments from Milton Grimes, the lawyer for (alleged) Manti Te’o hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, that indicated Tuiasosopo provided the voice for Lennay Kekua for “her” many lengthy calls to Te’o. This was already confounding because: 1) if true, how did Te’o not figure this out???; and 2) Tuiasosopo’s actual voice sounds like this.

And it was only made more strange by the release of voicemails “Kekua” left for Te’o – they sounded for all the world like the work of a woman. So what the hell was going on here? Well, to hear relatives of Tuiasosopo’s say it, not quite what Grimes said was going on:

Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s pretty young cousin played the part of “Lennay Kekua,” the fake girlfriend he created, The Post has learned.

Tino Tuiasosopo convinced the Notre Dame grid star that she was the real deal, calling him at school, telling him she loved him and even sobbing hysterically when another girl answered his phone, several of the woman’s relatives said yesterday.

“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” said a Tuiasosopo cousin.

And… that makes a lot more sense than Tuiasosopo having magic voice powers, hence why we’re a little less confused today than yesterday. The question this revelation – assuming it actually is a revelation and not just one more lie atop what is already a mountain of them – doesn’t answer, though: why would Tuiasosopo, through his lawyer, lie about having done the voice? One relative speculated it’s because he wants all the blame to fall on him, while his lawyer apparently wasn’t talking. (Speaking of that lawyer, another thing this new report would clear up: his piss-poor explanation for how Tuiasosopo was able to pretend to be a woman, “Hollywood does it all the time.” Good one, guy.)

Though this story has conditioned us to expect that everything we think we know about it will soon be overturned, leading to reports tomorrow that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is also not real and tat this is all the result of a prank pulled by a still-living Andy Kaufman, this Post report today, for now, brings this story back into reality just a bit. Of course, there’s still a lot we don’t know – for example, what endgame did Tuiasosopo have in mind when he started all this, why exactly did Te’o never make more of an effort to see her in person, and what was the deal with that Arizona Cardinals player who claimed to have met Kekua in the flesh? But hey, we only said we’re slightly less confused now.

[h/t, photo via New York Post]