FORT WAYNE – Dr. Phil McGraw booked the first on-camera interview with the man who allegedly concocted the girlfriend hoax that ensnared Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o.
A spokesperson for the Dr. Phil show confirmed Friday the interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man accused of creating an online persona of a nonexistent woman who Te’o said he fell for without ever meeting face-to-face.
The ruse was uncovered last week by Deadspin.com, which reported that Tuiasosopo created the woman, named Lennay Kekua, who then supposedly died last September.
No further details of the Dr. Phil interview, including its airdate, were announced.
Also on Friday, The Associated Press obtained a letter from Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins sent to board of trustee members that said top administrators at the university decided within hours of hearing about the hoax that it did not involve a crime and within two days had concluded there was no NCAA violation.
Jenkins told trustees that despite the unrelenting scrutiny of hundreds of journalists and countless others – and repeated attempts by some to create a different impression– no facts relating to the hoax have been at odds with what Manti told us on Dec. 27-28.
The letter was obtained from a university official who provided it on condition of anonymity because the private school’s internal workings are confidential.
The eight-page document, including a four-page letter from Jenkins and a four-page outline of how Notre Dame handled the hoax, is both a defense and an explanation of the school’s actions.
We did our best to get to the truth in extraordinary circumstances, be good stewards of the interests of the university and its good name and – as we do in all things – to make the well-being of our students one of our very highest priorities, Jenkins concluded in his letter.
Also, a cousin of Tuiasosopo told the New York Post it was Tino Tuiasosopo, a female cousin of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, on the voice mails that Katie Couric aired on her syndicated show Thursday
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s lawyer, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News on Thursday that his client disguised his voice to be Kekua while talking to Te’o.