Manti Te’o Hoaxer Wanted ‘Relationship’ with Him: Lawyer

The lawyer for Rohaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the alleged hoax targeting Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, says it was Tuiasosopo's voice on the other end of phone calls and in voice mails with the football player, and that his client disguised his voice in order to develop "a relationship" with Te'o.

TuiasosopoThe NY Daily News reports:

Grimes insisted that former high school football star Tuiasosopo, 22, wasn’t trying to hurt or humiliate Te’o.

“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 answer when asked to elaborate on his client’s intentions or what type of relationship he wanted with the college football star: “I wouldn’t describe his issues at this time.”

Te'o has said he thought he was speaking to a woman.

The NYDN adds: "Tuiasosopo’s résumé includes vocal and dramatic training. He was president of his high school drama club, performs with a Christian band and auditioned last year for the TV talent show 'The Voice.'"

Voice mails from 'Lennay Kekua', the woman Tuiasosopo claims to have spoken as, were played in Katie Couric's interview today, during which Couric asked Te'o point-blank if he had lied to cover his sexual orientation.


  1. Marc C says

    I’m sorry but I’m not clear why we’re attempting to vilify either of these two people at this point. Did I miss something?

  2. Chitown Kev says

    Is Tuiasosopo a common Samoan name or is this some relation to the former Washington Huskies QB?

    Or even the former NFL defensive lineman?

  3. Bill says

    Let me get this straight. Some guy who happened to be or had been on a college football team was talking to someone over a cell phone or a computer-based connection and that person was not what that person claimed to be. This is news?

  4. Nat says


    This is a very high profile case of lying and deception. If Te’o was in on it, which I believe he was, then he used deception and lying to gain the sympathy of others to get a prestigious award and possibly other kickbacks in the future (IE a lucrative contract with an NFL team).

    The sad part is that he probably never needed to do any of that to get a lucrative contract so I think one can reasonably assume that these two men, desperately trying to hide their sexual identity, made all of this up as a cover.

    Just look at the Couric interview; when he denied the gay rumor, there was something about his behavior that told me he was lying–heck that lying behavior was there the entire interview.

  5. Nat says

    Oh and to answer your question to why this is news:

    This is news because a if he really turns out to be gay, this will shed even more light on the impact of homophobia to the mainstream masses–both at an athletic level and a religious level. It will shed light on the fact that homophobia ain’t no joke, which I guarantee you that many people see homophobia as a joke or not serious.

  6. Toto says

    This is not news. This is not some mainstream conspiracy against us gays, so put your tinfoil hats away. This is press digging way too deeply into an athlete’s personal life whose only results can only lead to embarrassment. He isnt funneling tax payer money to the frc, theres no dead hooker in his trunk, and the story about his invisible girlfriend didnt give him a physical advantage during games. He just plays FOOTBALL!

  7. Krishnan says

    I think Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is a BABE! Manti will probably regret not hooking up with him. He is very talented and has such a nice voice and sings pretty well. Manti was a lonely Mormon in snowy South Bend among all those Catholics and he needed someone who understood his situation. Who better than a gay Samoan who had been a star quarterback in high school playing the part of a female on the phone and twitter? And then when the season was ending, they broke it off. Sweet!

  8. BETTY says

    Umm Toto: YOU ARE NOT A NEWS EDITOR! This is news because when Manti Te’o was getting good PR for having a sick, dying girlfriend, many people believed the touching story. Now that it turns out to be false that same public has a right to know WHY they were duped. Whether he knew about it or not, the people want to know why they were tricked. Football teams and players are allowed to promote themselves and their teams with feel-good stories but when those stories turn out to be wrong, questions need to be answered. You take the good with the bad. Got it?

  9. Geoff says

    Samoan, Mormon football-player. A deeply closeted gay man? Absolutely. Religion is mass mental illness to start with. Add football? Yeah right. Why wouldn’t denial and lying be any thing other than second nature. Please.

  10. MikeH says

    I rate this as watching a train wreck… you should turn away, but just can’t help yourself. Really, this story isn’t National news… and the media is spending entirely way too much time investigating it. I think they are both gay and got in a bit over their heads and now it is blown all out of proportion. He won’t come out though, because he is afraid of what it would do to his NFL contract chances.

    My advice however would be to just come out and play the abused by society gay card (and I’m not being flippant here, a mormon gay football player at a Catholic school…). He would immediately get sympathy and the NFL wouldn’t dare not award him a contract out of all the bad publicity… he is a good player, after all. It might even help his Heisman chances. But his upbringing and fear won’t allow him to fess up…

  11. jason says

    Just because a man has a fling with a man, it doesn’t mean he’s gay. Haven’t you heard of blow-and-go?

  12. Ain't it Funny says

    This guy’s career is pretty much done. He “might” get some kind of basic NFL contract but that’s about it. No “mega millions”, no endorsements, nada. Once you start adding in “possible gay sex, guys posing as women” people start to back away. Maybe not immediately, but slowly….he’s done

  13. says

    I think he’s gay. Poor kid. It’s amazing what an oppressive religious conviction and internalized homophobia can drive a person to.

  14. FunMe says

    His “girlfriend” and he were on the DOWNLOW.

    His bf LIED … oh what a LYING Mormon weasel. Romney gave us a clue of his “kind”. LOL

  15. Amir says

    As a gay person who see’s daily prejudice against our community and gays and lesbians being fired in many states when employers find out they are gay, my genuine concern is: attaching the gay label to these men and their deception and dishonesty…. Will this hurt our community? Why must every scandal somehow seemingly turn into a “gay guy did it” angle? I fear the gay community will be lumped in on this action and it’s going to make us all look bad to bigots who will use it as an example. I just wish it had nothing to do with sexuality. Now it’s going to open up a whole national debate against gays. And that frankly sucks!

  16. DannyEastVillage says

    didn’t previous versions of the story say that the two of them knew one another before Tulasosopo became a “christian” musician? In fact, wasn’t Tula a football player before? I could have sworn I read that version somewhere.

  17. DannyEastVillage says

    anyway, they’re both scrumptious. Wonder if I’d get kicked out of bed for eating Samoans…

  18. AngelaChanning says

    Amir, take a deep breath. Bigots use everything against us, especially weather events. I would not necessarily classify this as a scandal, which plays into what you are worried about. This is only in the news cycles because the traditional media got scooped by cyber media. They are playing catch up. Sure, this is a bat$*t crazy situation, but I have seen much crazier among straight people.

  19. EJC says

    Not sure why all this fuss, does anyone really care?
    Aren’t there more important issues in the country like unemployment, our financial situation in the world, climate change etc.? The issue of gay marriage seems to have been placed on the back burner over this kid and his make-believe girlfriend, fantasy is one thing, this isn’t even good soap opera.

  20. tommyboy10T says

    wtf … where did this come in, I thought teo lied about being in a relationship with girl, who died of leukemia? i am unclear on any of this, and not certain why this is news

  21. Ryan says

    They did know each other before, and at least well enough that T’eo promoted the guy’s (very low hit count on youtube) music and they had at least been casual acquaintances together.

    At this point in time, it’s far more believable that they were a closeted couple, perpetuating a lie, and that Tuiasosopo is taking the fall for T’eo than the fact that T’eo could be so overwhelmingly naive… and dumb.

    When Katie Couric asked if he was gay, he basically said ‘of course not, far from it.’

    Far from it? The guy’s a stud and a football star… and supposed virgin who got duped into thinking he had been in a relationship with a woman for years who didn’t even exist? Yeah, right. /sarcasm off.

    I don’t see how anyone can be “far from” any orientation under those circumstances. He would have been better off simply saying he wasn’t gay… because all he did was invoke Shakepeare’s “Lady doth protest too much.”

  22. Ladislav says

    I don’t think Roniah is hotter than Manti. Not even close. But he is probably was smarter.