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Manti Te'o Scandal RONAIAH SURFACES!!

1/20/2013 9:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo
-- the man who allegedly spearheaded the hoax on Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o -- has finally come out of hiding ... surfacing at his family home in Palmdale, CA on Saturday evening ... TMZ has learned. 

Ronaiah was wearing a hoodie and tried to hide his face. He also didn't utter a single word when asked about his role in the hoax. 

Just 24 hours before Ronaiah appeared in public, Manti had told ESPN ... Ronaiah had reached out to him -- confessed to the prank -- and apologized.

According to Manti, Ronaiah was the person who created "Lennay Kekua" -- who Manti believed was a real person ... and "dated" ... even though they never met in person.

Of course, the whole thing was a hoax -- Lennay never really lived ... or died from cancer on September 11.

Manti claims he and Ronaiah were simply acquaintances -- and insists he was only a victim in the hoax and not a co-conspirator. Watch TMZ Sports on FS1 Get the new TMZ Sports app!
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