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Lawyer: Voice of Manti Te’o’s ‘girlfriend’ was man

01.24.13 at 12:15 pm ET

The lawyer for the man accused of perpetrating the girlfriend hoax involving Notre Dame star Manti Te’o told the New York Daily News that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was the voice of Lennay Kekua for the many phone conversations with Te’o.

Tuiasosopo, who was president of his high school’s drama club, has had vocal and dramatic training.

“[Te’o] thought it was a female he was talking with,” lawyer Milton Grimes told the Daily News. “It was Ronaiah as Lennay.”

Grimes said Tuiasosopo was not attempting to embarrass Te’o.

“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes said. “It was establishing a communication with someone. ‘€¦ It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship.”

Asked specifically what Tuiasosopo hoped to gain by the hoax, Grimes said: “I wouldn’t describe his issues at this time.” He added that his client is seeing a mental health professional and wants to tell his story.

“He’s torn by this,” Grimes said. “He didn’t mean for anyone to be hurt. Anything that he has done, he has apologized to those he could apologize to.”

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