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Jan 19, 2013 12:37 AM by CJ, The Associated Press

Te'o tells ESPN: Not involved in creating hoax

NEW YORK (AP) - ESPN says Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o maintains he was never involved in creating the dead girlfriend hoax.

He said in an off-camera interview Friday night: "When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this."

The comments were Te'o's first public remarks since Deadspin.com reported that his girlfriend not only didn't die but, in fact, never existed.

Notre Dame and Te'o insist he was the victim of a cruel joke. Still unanswered are questions why the All-American never made it clear he knew the woman only online and by telephone.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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