|Another layer -- yes, another one -- has been added to the Manti Te'o story. (US Presswire)|
On Thursday, New York's Daily News quoted a lawyer for alleged Lennay Kekua hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as saying the female voice that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o spent hours speaking to on the phone was, in fact, Tuiasosopo himself, speaking in falsetto. But on Friday, the New York Post had something different to report.
According to Tuiasosopo relatives who spoke to the Post, the voice with which Te'o maintained his now-infamous long-distance relationship belonged, in fact, to Ronaiah's cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo. The Post reported that Tino is "in her mid-20s" and lives in American Samoa.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” another Tuiasosopo cousin told the paper.
If true, it would make Tino the voice heard on the supposed Lennay Kekua voicemails made public by Te'o as part of his interview with Katie Couric and published on Couric's website on Thursday. The voicemails were used as further evidence by Te'o that he had not helped create the hoax, and that the voice on the other end of the line had been convincing enough for him to maintain a relationship with the girl whom he believed it belonged to.
Tino's alleged involvement would fly in the face of the assertions made Thursday by Milton Grimes, the lawyer for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
"It was Ronaiah as Lennay," Grimes said of Te'o's phone partner. "Come on, Hollywood does it all the time. People can do that."
Whichever version of events is correct, whichever New York tabloid has things straight, one thing is certain: The three-ring circus surrounding the Te'o story and the Kekua hoax doesn't seem willing to pack up its bags just yet.