Manti Te’o Speaks In ESPN Interview, Claims He Is Innocent Victim Of Evil Catfishing Trio

Fake girlfriend scandal person Manti Te’o lawyered up and spoke publicly tonight for the first time since the mind-melting scandal broke in an off-camera interview with Jeremy Schaap that aired well after midnight on ESPN — because when you’re innocent of something you refuse to go on camera and you have your lawyer present and you demand that the interview run late at night on the Friday of a holiday weekend. At least that’s what you learn a true victim should do in these situations from watching Law & Order, right?

ANYWAY, Te’o insists that he was catfished spectacularly (SURPRISE!), and that he’s an innocent victim who played no part in the hoax, which is essentially the same thing he already said in a written statement the other day.

“No, never,” Te’o said to Schaap when asked if he’d played a part in the charade. “I wasn’t faking it. I wasn’t part of this…When (people) hear the facts, they’ll know. They’ll know that there is no way that I could be part of this.”

Oh, “facts” you say? We need to hear them, you say? WELL TELL US WHAT THEY ARE, AS$HOLE! Here’s what Te’o did clear up tonight in the 2 1/2 hour interview, as far as I can tell at this point…

– The two met via Facebook in 2009 and spoke occasionally via Facebook messages. In April of this year, however, someone claiming to be a member of Kekua’s family contacted Te’o to inform him that she was was ill. The two began conversing regularly online via Facetime and Skype, though Te’o says that the girl he spoke to was always in what he called a “black box” and wasn’t seen, and became boyfriend and girlfriend.

– He says he never met Lennay Kekua in person. As for reports saying that the two had met, Te’o said that he lied to his father about meeting her and his father then perpetuated the lie in interviews that the two had met. Te’o later admitted to pushing this falsehood further because he “catered” his stories about Kekua so that people would think he’d “met her before she passed away” — because he was embarrassed about never having met his dead girlfriend.

– In September, Te’o says he was told that Kekua had died. In December, she rose from the dead and contacted him, saying that she had to fake her death in an effort to hide from drug dealers who were trying to kill her or something.

– Te’o says that he wasn’t positive Kekua was a hoax until two days ago when the Deadspin report ran and the guy behind the scam (Ronaiah Tuiasosopo) contacted him to apologize. So, to summarize: in the three years Te’o knew her, they never met, Facetime/Skype never worked properly, she fake died to hide from drug dealers and then rose from the fake dead, and he just smelled a rat two days ago. Yeah.

– Te’o said that “two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing.”

Okay, so taking in everything that’s been disclosed from this interview so far, at 1:30am EST, and processing it, I am sure of one thing: Manti Te’o is a f*cking idiot, and so am I for staying up to write about this.

(Pic via)