Hoaxster's Friend: Manti Te'o 'Was a Victim'

But questions far from answered about football star's role

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 18, 2013 3:29 PM CST

(Newser) – Factor this into the Manti Te'o riddle: A friend of the man thought to have engineered the hoax says Te'o had nothing to do with it. "He told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim," the unidentified young woman tells ESPN. She is referring to Ronaiah Tuisosopo, the man Deadspin singled out as the likely perpetrator in its original scoop.

In that first story, Deadspin talked to another source, JR Vaosa, whose cousin had been tricked by Tuisosopo in a similar hoax in 2008. Vaosa, however, said he was "80%" sure that Te'o knew what was going on, and went along for the good publicity. Te'o so far has remained silent, but something's a little fishy. The AP pointed out today that the Notre Dame star talked about non-existent girlfriend Lennay Kekua at least twice in interviews after Dec. 6, the date he supposedly learned of the hoax.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in a file photo.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)
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