Though Ronaiah Tuiasosopo hasn't spoken publicly about his role in the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend hoax, his lawyer said Wednesday the Palmdale man not only invented the woman - he played her on the phone.
The New York Daily News quoted lawyer Milton Grimes as saying, "It was Ronaiah as Lennay."
The paper reported Grimes compared it to an actor playing a role.
"Come on, Hollywood does it all the time," Grimes said, according to the report. "People can do that."
Grimes, whose office is in Los Angeles, could not be reached this morning by the Los Angeles Daily News.
Tuiasosopo, a former Antelope Valley High School football star whose family lives in Palmdale, was first implicated in the hoax in a Jan. 16 report by sports news website Deadspin.
The Deadspin report said Tuiasosopo tricked Te'o, a Notre Dame football star, into believing he was dating a woman named Lennay Kekua who, in reality, did not exist.
The story of the romance and the woman's supposed death from leukemia drew national media attention last year as Te'o competed for the Heisman trophy. (He didn't win.)
In an off-camera interview, Te'o told ESPN that Tuiasosopo had confessed and apologized.
An interview with Te'o is set to air on Katie Couric's talk show this afternoon. In excerpts already released, Te'o admitted to Couric that he lied after he knew Kekua didn't exist, but said he believed he had little choice having told the story for so
Tuiasosopo is seeing a therapist and plans to tell his side of the story publicly, Grimes told the New York Daily News.
The lawyer said Tuiasosopo, who is a singer and auditioned for the television show "The Voice," did not set out to hurt Te'o.
"This wasn't a prank to make fun," Grimes told the paper. "It was establishing a communication with someone. ... It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship."