With each passing day, the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story seems to take a new turn. Earlier this week, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s lawyer Milton Grimes came out and admitted that Tuiasosopo was the voice behind Lennay Kekua. On Friday, the NY Post reported that it was actually Ronaiah’s female cousin, Tino Tiuasosopo, who spoke with Te’o on the phone for several months.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” a relative of the Tuiasosopo family reportedly told the Post.
After listening to one of the voicemails that Te’o shared with Katie Couric on Thursday, the cousin said there is “no doubt whatsoever” that the voice belongs to Tino — not Ronaiah. So why would Ronaiah’s lawyer, of all people, insist that Ronaiah was the one playing the part of Kekua on the phone?
According to one Tuiasosopo relative, Ronaiah is determined to take all of the blame for the hoax and could be trying to protect others who were involved. In one of the voice recordings, Kekua became hysterical and was accusing Te’o of having another girl in his room. The cousin said the voice is an exact replica of Tino’s when she becomes upset.
“That’s the way [Tino] cries when she’s feeling sorry for herself,” the source said. “It’s her, that’s the voice.”
Tino was reportedly dumped from a long-distance relationship with a man in late 2011, and the source said that situation had “extraordinary similarities” with the one between Te’o and Kekua.
While there is no possible way to know who or what to believe at this point, I can confidently say one thing — the voice on those voicemails sounded like a woman. Ronaiah’s lawyer said he has voice and drama training, but I still find it hard to believe that someone could be that effective in posing as a woman. I’m far more inclined to believe that a female cousin provided the voice.
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