In an interview taped on Tuesday for ABC, Manti Te’o, the 21-year-old Notre Dame linebacker, told Katie Couric that he was not lying about the elaborate “Catfish” hoax that rocked the nation – up until December, that is.
Te’o insisted that he was duped and not a part of the online girlfriend hoax that brought him publicity and sympathy after she “died of cancer.”
“You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti,” Couric said.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o said.
Te’o said he received a phone call Dec. 6 from a woman claiming she was Kekua, even though Kekua had allegedly passed away three months earlier.
“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?” Te’o said.
Te’o’s parents, Brian and Ottila, were there to back their son up.
“People can speculate about what they think he is. I’ve known him 21 years of his life. And he’s not a liar. He’s a kid,” Brian Te’o said with tears in his eyes.
The imaginary girl, Lennay Kekua, was actually the face of Diane O’Meara, who told NBC’s Today show that pictures from her Twitter account were used without her knowledge or consent.
“I’ve never met Manti Te’o in my entire life. I’ve never spoke with him. I’ve never exchanged words with him,” O’Meara said Tuesday.
The entire interview will air on Jan. 24.
Well, there you go! From the horse’s mouth. Is anyone out there still skeptical that Manti had anything to do with the hoax?