Te’o admits to perpetuating story

Chicago TribuneJanuary 24, 2013 

Notre Dame Te'o Football

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2012, file photo, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o answers a question during NCAA college football media day in South Bend, Ind. The wrenching story of Te'o's girlfriend dying of leukemia _ a loss he said inspired him to play his best all the way to the BCS championship _ was dismissed by the school Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)


The efforts to rinse Manti Te’o of the infamous fake dead girlfriend hoax continued the day before his first televised interview, with clips of that confab appearing early Wednesday and spreadsheets purported to represent his phone records bubbling up later in the day.

In samples of his interview with Katie Couric that airs today, Te’o conceded that he perpetuated the storyline of a girlfriend who died of leukemia in September despite receiving a call Dec. 6 from someone claiming to be that girlfriend, Lennay Kekua.

“This girl who I committed myself to died on Sept. 12,” Te’o said in the clip aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive, and then I’m going to be put on national TV two days later, and they ask me about the same question. What would you do?”

Meanwhile, ESPN received spreadsheets allegedly representing Te’o’s phone records from a source it did not name that show Te’o made 500 hours of calls between May and September of 2012 to a number with a 661 area code the former Notre Dame linebacker allegedly believed belonged to Kekua.

Te’o said he believed he had a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua who died of leukemia on Sept. 12. It has been revealed since that Kekua was a hoax, the product of a scam allegedly run by a 22-year-old California man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Notre Dame and Te’o have maintained the player had no part in the ordeal, though the flashpoint for some was Te’o continuing the dead girlfriend narrative two days after a call that threw the situation into doubt.

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