(Photo: Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports)
Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
The lawyer for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the individual allegedly behind the hoax involving Manti Te'o, told The New York Daily News that it was his client, using a falsetto voice, who impersonated Lennay Kekua on phone calls with the All-American linebacker.
Voicemails left on Te'o's phone by "Lennay Kekua" provide the first clear example of Kekua's voice, and provide some picture into the relationship the two prior to her "death" in September.
The messages were released by Katie Couric's syndicated talk show, Katie, in advance of Te'o's first on-camera interview since the hoax story first broke on Jan. 16.
The first voicemail is from what Kekua said was her first day of chemotherapy treatment:
Hi, just let me know you've got here. And I'm getting ready for my first session. Just wanted to call, keep you posted. I miss you, I love you. Bye.
In the second, Kekua accuses Te'o of having someone else in his room when she called; based on the message, this person, not Te'o, picked up the call:
I don't know who answered your phone... I don't care. [Inaudible] I'm trying. You made me play what you want. Take care.
Katie says the third voicemail is from Sept. 11, 2012, the day Kekua said she was released from the hospital:
Hey babe, I'm just calling to say goodnight. I love you. I know that you're probably doing homework or you're with the boys. [Inaudible] I just want to say I love you and goodnight, and I'll be okay tonight. I'll do my best, um... yeah, so take care and I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you so much.
Until Te'o learned the truth behind the hoax in December, he believed that Kekua died the following day, on Sept. 12.
In other excerpts provided by Katie, Te'o told Couric that while he briefly lied about Kekua after discovering in early December that his former girlfriend didn't exist, the pain he felt after her death in September was "real."
"The feelings, the pain, the sorrow. That was all real," Te'o said.
USA TODAY Sports