Katie Couric Believes Football Star Manti Te’o Was a Victim

January 24, 2013 8:17 am

Katie Couric called in to “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” on Thursday to talk about her interview with Manti Te’o and the strange story surrounding the football star.

Was Manti in on it or Was He a Victim?
“I think he was a victim. I think he might have not been completely honest about the true nature of their relationship and I think he continued to talk as if she had died of cancer, even when he was told that it was a made up story. He was very confused, trying to understand what was going on, and I think that probably he made a mistake there. But I think he was totally targeted and victimized by this person. The whole other part of the story is this Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Now they are saying that this young man was actually the voice of this so called Lennay. I actually asked Manti about that.”

On Manti & Lennay:
“He talks about why he found her appealing and why he felt comfortable with her. Then all these things happened…she was in this terrible car accident, she was in the hospital, she was diagnosed with Leukemia, and she died. He says that he made an effort to see her. But for whatever reason, she couldn’t do it. So, I said to him after she’s making all these excuses and not showing up, you’re trying to facetime with her and you can’t see her, and she says, ‘I don’t know why? Because I can see you.’ Katie continues, “You’ll hear the voicemails. It sounds like a normal relationship. it sounds like a girlfriend leaving a message for her boyfriend…it’s very warm and fuzzy.”

Did Manti Ever Question Her Story?
“I think a lot of times he rationalized it. Every time a red flag would come up, like her Leukemia, this person on the phone would talk to his friend’s mother, who had also gone through cancer. They would converse in the language of cancer. So, it was really a massive mind game for this young man over several months. I think the part about saying that they met, I certainly challenge him on that. Because he admits to misleading people and to not really coming clean about that. I think he was embarrassed that he had this purely online relationship.

What Is Covered In The Interview?
“Just actually figuring out how this all unfolded is one part of the interview. Then his reaction to all these different elements in the relationship. Then sort of what he knew, when he knew it, and did Manti in fact prolong the story. It’s all covered today in the interview. And I spend some time with Manti’s parents, who are very sympathetic and I think riveting to talk to.”

Katie’s interview with Manti Te’o and his parents airs today on ABC – check your local listings for times.