02-19-2017  8:42 am      •     

Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o has admitted lying again, marking at least the second time he has acknowledged knowingly spreading falsities in the saga of his fake, dead girlfriend.

In an interview with ABC News' Katie Couric, set to air Thursday evening, the Heisman Trophy runner-up says he fibbed to the media -- albeit briefly -- after learning that the death of Lennay Kekua was a hoax.

Te'o said he thought Kekua, whom he thought was his girlfriend despite never meeting her face to face, had died of leukemia on September 12 after a car accident left her hospitalized. But he received a call December 6 from the woman he thought was Kekua, and she said she was alive, he has said.

Te'o told ABC he felt he had no choice but to continue the ruse. On December 8, ahead of the Heisman Trophy presentation, Te'o said he "lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer." In a New York Post interview more than three weeks later, Te'o said memories of his grandfather helped him cope with the losses of his grandmother and girlfriend, whom he'd previously said died on the same day.

"So when I lost my grandmother and Lennay, I thought of him. He was my strength," Te'o told the Post, according to a December 30 article.

It was true that his grandmother had died, but Te'o conceded during the ABC interview that he wasn't being honest about 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. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?" Te'o said, according to clips of the interview published on ABC News' website.

He further pleaded with Couric to empathize with his plight.

"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," Te'o said.

Te'o's parents, Brian and Ottilia, were also on hand for the interview. His father was quoted in an October article in the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, saying his son and Kekua had met at a football game in Palo Alto, California, and exchanged numbers. Their love affair ensued from there, the paper reported.

Last week, Te'o said, however, that he had lied to his dad because he was embarrassed to admit he was in love with a woman he'd never laid eyes on.

"I knew that -- I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet," he told ESPN. "And that alone, people find out that this girl who died I was so invested in, and I didn't meet her as well."

Asked his response to those who say his son is a "liar" who "manipulated the truth, really for personal gain," Te'o's father broke into tears.

"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," Te'o's father told Couric.

Questions have also been raised about Te'o telling Sports Illustrated in October that Kekua had attended one of his games, when he issued a statement last week saying he'd never met her.

Because ABC News has made public only snippets of the interview, it's not clear which parts of the hoax Te'o will address, but the Notre Dame standout has said he's sure he'll be vindicated.

"When (people) hear the facts, they'll know," Te'o told ESPN last week. "They'll know that there is no way that I could be part of this."

Nine days after Alabama Crimson Tide dismantled the Fighting Irish in the college football national championship, Deadspin broke the story that Kekua didn't exist. The oft-irreverent sports news website has reported that a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is involved in the scam and that he created a fake Lennay Kekua Twitter account.

Deadspin's Timothy Burke, co-author of the story, said friends and relatives of Tuiasosopo's said he was "doing the Lennay Kakua fake online profile for several years and that he's caught other people in his trap, but that they caught on way earlier than Manti Te'o did."

Diane O'Meara, whose photo was used for the fake account, told NBC's "Today" show that she'd never spoken to Te'o but that Tuiasosopo called her to apologize.

"Ronaiah has called and not only confessed, but he has also apologized, but I don't think there's anything you could say to me that would fix this," she said.

Te'o, likewise, told ESPN that Tuiasosopo tweeted him after the Deadspin story broke, saying he was behind the hoax. He also apologized, Te'o said.

"Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing," Te'o said, according to ESPN.

An anonymous Notre Dame source told CNN the university's investigation yielded the same conclusion -- that two men and a woman perpetrated the hoax.

At least one of Tuiasosopo's relatives has defended him, though. His uncle told CNN, "It definitely takes two to tango," and, "This is not just a matter of blaming it all on Ronaiah." Tuiasosopo's father had no comment.

Burke isn't buying the notion that Te'o is innocent in this mess and emphasizes that Te'o and Tuiasosopo knew each other.

"How dense would Manti Te'o have to be to not realize this was his friend who was behind the account the entire time?" he asked. "I don't believe Manti Te'o could be that dumb."



Steve Almasy, Lateef Mungin, Greg Botelho and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all