Te'o admits to perpetuating lies
(MCT) — 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 Thursday, 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 _ not the original records themselves _ 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.
ESPN said it could not independently verify the information in the spreadsheets.
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.
Couric _ who shares the same spokesman as Te'o and reportedly also is represented by Creative Artists Agency _ addressed that discrepancy in a clip aired Wednesday.
"You stuck to the script," Couric said. "And you knew that something was amiss, Manti."
Te'o replied: "Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12."
Couric also interviewed Te'o's parents, Brian and Ottilia.
"Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar," Couric said. "They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain."
Replied Brian Te'o: "People can speculate about what they think he is. I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid."
The full Couric interview with Te'o airs on Thursday on her syndicated talk show, "Katie."