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Does Manti Te’o Have Any Legal Recourse Against Perpetrators of Hoax?

Today’s Kelly’s Court tackled the hoax involving Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o. It was revealed by Deadspin.com that the girlfriend Te’o believed died from leukemia this fall actually never existed.

Te’o claims he was the victim of an elaborate scheme, and that someone tricked him into believing he was carrying on an online relationship with Lennay Kekua, who he now admits to never meeting in person. Many are speculating though that Te’o himself may have been in on the hoax, and helped create the myth of the fake girlfriend in order to increase his public image.

Arthur Aidala believes Te’o’s profuse declarations of love for Kekua in television interviews are suspicious. “How could you talk about anybody like that who you’ve never met?!,” Aidala asked.

But if Te’o is indeed a victim, would he have any legal recourse against the person who perpetrated the hoax? According to Aidala, he does. “He is damaged in my opinion. His reputation is damaged.”

Mark Eiglarsh agreed, citing the upcoming NFL Draft. “If somehow the victimization causes him significant damage then yeah, he can go try to squeeze water from this predatory rock that might have set him up,” he said.

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