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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
Hoaxster's Friend: Manti Te'o 'Was a Victim'
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

(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.

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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. (Read more Ronaiah Tuiasosopo stories.)

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