Te’o tells Katie Couric he lied to maintain hoax

NEW YORK – Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o told ABC News’ Katie Couric that he had lied to keep up a hoax involving a nonexistent dying girlfriend once he learned he had been duped two days before the Heisman Trophy winner was announced.

In a preview of the interview shown on Wednesday on “Good Morning America,” Te’o talked about the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. He mourned her September 12 death from cancer, but it later turned out that she never existed except as part of an online fraud.

On December 6, two days before the prestigious college football trophy was awarded, Te’o said he had received a phone call from a woman claiming she was Kekua.

“Now I get a phone call on December 6, saying that she’s alive, and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later,” Te’o told Couric. “And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”

A Heisman contender, Te’o was passed over for the award, which went to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“You stuck to the script,” Couric said. “And you knew that something was amiss, Manti.”

Te’o replied: “Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on September 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12.”

The interview will be broadcast in its entirety on the daytime talk show “Katie” on Thursday.

This is Te’o's first on-camera interview since news broke of the fraud behind one the most widely recounted U.S. sports stories last year as Notre Dame made a drive toward the college football national championship game.

Couric interviewed Te’o, who in an interview with ESPN last week denied being in on the elaborate hoax, and his parents, Brian and Ottilia Te’o.

“Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar,” Couric said. “They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain.”

Brian Te’o dismissed such statements. “People can speculate about what they think he is,” he said. “I’ve known him 21 years of his life. And he’s not a liar. He’s a kid.”

Notre Dame, one of the most powerful institutions in U.S. collegiate athletics, held a news conference within hours of the Deadspin.com article that exposed the hoax to say that Te’o had been duped.

(Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)


Read more :
  • Michael Stich counters Andy Murray’s argument
    Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich has responded to Andy Murray's suggestion that the current tennis schedule is overcrowded. The Great British number one yesterday claimed that the p...
  • Karim Benzema fined 18,000 euros for speeding
    Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been fined 18,000 euros ($23,335, ?15,580) and banned from driving for eight months after being caught speeding, a Spanish court confirmed on Friday. ...
  • 49ers in Super Bowl after comeback against Atlanta
    ATLANTA - The San Francisco 49ers battled back from a 17-0 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 on Sunday and book their first trip to the Super Bowl in 18 years where they will face...
  • Vilanova to return to Barcelona this week
    Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will return to the Nou Camp "this week" from New York, where he has been receiving treatment for cancer, the Spanish giants said on Monday. "Tito Vilanova wil...
  • Knee operation for Barcelona captain Carles Puyol
    Barcelona captain Carles Puyol underwent an exploratory knee operation on Friday. The 34-year-old Puyol has suffered knee problems for over a year and missed last summer's European Champio...
  • FORMER PATRIOTS STAR CHARGED WITH MURDER
    NEW YORK: Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder on Wednesday following the shooting death of a man whose bloodied body was found dumped less than a mile f...
  • Two Filipinos advance in Ultimate 10-Ball tourney
    Former world champion Alex Pagulayan and Carlo Biado advanced to the fourth round of the Ultimate 10-Ball Championships being held at the Harrah’s Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. Pagulayan ...
  • Michael Owen to retire at end of season
    Former England striker Michael Owen announced on Tuesday that he will retire from professional football at the end of the current season. "It is with an immense amount of pride that I am a...