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Manti Te'o's alleged hoaxer may come clean and tell his story

The Notre Dame footballer will partake in a televised interview on Thursday, meanwhile.

Manti Te'o (file photo).
Manti Te'o (file photo).
Image: David J. Phillip/AP/Press Association Images

THE PERSON CAST as the mastermind of the hoax involving Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o may tell his side of the story, a family member has said.

Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, uncle of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, says the family plans to hold a meeting this week to determine when and how his nephew would talk about the bizarre prank.

“We want to do it right,” he said, also noting that the family has hired an attorney. He never directly mentioned the hoax or his nephew being involved.

Te’o insisted he had no role in the hoax involving his “dead” girlfriend and told ESPN on Friday night that he was duped by a person who has since apologized to him.

In an off-camera interview, Te’o identified that person as Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California. He said the young man contacted him soon after Deadpsin.com broke the news on Wednesday. The Deadspin story indicated Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was involved, and suggested Te’o was, too.

Earlier in the day, ABC news announced that Te’o would do his first television interview with Katie Couric. The interview will air Thursday on Couric’s daytime talk show and Te’o's parents will be with him. ABC was not releasing details of when the interview would take place or where.

Also, in a story published in Sunday’s South Bend Tribune, a Notre Dame spokesman said the university decided against disclosing the hoax before the Irish played Alabama in the BCS championship game on Jan. 7 because it wasn’t in the best interest of the teams.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said some school administrators thought they should release what they knew about the hoax when they became aware of it. Te’o went to coaches and school officials with his story on Dec. 26. The school commissioned an investigation that it says confirmed Te’o was not involved. Investigators gave their findings to the school on Jan. 4.

The university officials said the investigators did not examine cellphone records, emails or other electronic communication to determine the length or extent of Te’o's communication over the past few years with the person claiming to be Lennay Kekua, nor did the university ask Te’o to take a lie detector test.

The school informed Te’o's parents about the investigation results on Jan. 5.

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