Te’o conducted the sit-down interview with Couric on Wednesday and claimed that he was not lying up until December of last year.
Te’o discovered that his supposed online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was nothing but a hoax on December 6, 2012. However, on December 8 of last year, he once again mentioned the fact that his girlfriend was in fact real.
Highlights of the interview can be seen below:
Couric spoke to Te’o and drilled him with this statement:
You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti.
Te’o responded to Couric with:
Correct. Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12. 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’s parents, Brian and Ottila, were also present during the interview. Couric made Brian aware of his son’s damaged credibility:
Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar. They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain.
Brian spoke up for his son, stating:
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.
It was also revealed that the same photos Diane O’Meara sent to Tuiasosopo were the same “proof of life” photos that Te’o received from his fake girlfriend. Te’o spoke with reporter Jeremy Schaap on ESPN and told him how he received the “MSMK” photos from Kekua:
So I told her ‘OK, take another picture. And this time I want you to hold a paper up with your initials, MSMK, which is her initials, the date and you throwing up the sign.’ And she said, “Well, I can do something — I can maybe do something on Pookah’s birthday.
Te’o went on to say that he finally received the photos on December 21, 2012. But he did note that in the end, the photos were proof of nothing.