Hallucinations Blamed For Poor Signing

Fake signer says he had a schizophrenic episode at Mandela Memorial.
3:00 | 12/12/13

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Transcript for Hallucinations Blamed For Poor Signing
This is a special group. I'm tired Hernandez in New York with an ABC's digital special report a troubling sign and -- bizarre story involving this map hired. To interpret at Nelson -- funeral. Now accused of being total fraud making no sense and standing so close to -- -- -- even the US president. Speaking the same gestures over and over -- now he is defending himself -- that defense. And perhaps even stranger than the original story BC's -- Gonzales following this for today joins us live with more hi Marcy. High -- you know when he was the first showing video of himself giving that strange interpretation he said he didn't remember. Were. Called -- -- alarming. The world watching he stood just feet from 91 heads of state including President Obama. Supposedly interpreting Nelson Mandela's memorial service. But experts say this. Wasn't sign language. And today the man at the center of this international controversy is coming forward with agents serving explanation. For why didn't -- could include. I see engines and to -- -- -- would John she says he is schizophrenic. With a history of violence explaining he had an episode during the five hour long event and started hallucinating. Sometimes you see -- people who at -- team. You -- voices that you don't understand and -- you know who and that loses control. The south African government admits a mistake was made. They've -- launched an investigation into how he was hired and managed to get security clearance. Once told me what it'd be biggest events in. -- and world history. And how quote you the amount to get that close to sites. A powerful group of individuals. John she insists he is certified in sign language and that he's interpreted other high profile events including one with South Africa's president shown in this YouTube clip. The south African government and John she now apologizing. -- have offended you. Police forgive me. And south African government officials say they're now having trouble tracking down. The -- -- of that interpretation company that hired John -- whom he says new. About his schizophrenia. -- And -- has his mental state been corroborated was he was due for a check up of sorts that -- I've heard. Right John she says actually on the day of that service he was due for a regular six month check up -- to have doctors. -- if the medication that he was on was working -- that needed to be changed. And also if he needed to be checked into a mental health facility. He -- he actually spent at you're living in a mental health facility sometime in the past -- -- troubling considering as we pointed out he was so close to so many world leaders. Have we heard from the south African government about how this happened. No they say they're still trying to get to the bottom of it -- an issue they say is -- really not able to dedicate. All of their resource is into this investigation because right now they're just so busy with organizing all of the events surrounding Mandela's. Funeral. Of course this is burning up Twitter mercy pulled a -- -- -- to show here's one quote -- -- Just ask what -- an alleged frauds are mentally unstable fake interpreter doing on the world stage next to a massive names. And at the memorial and there's another here that they translator is the ultimate sign that things are not up to scratch. With -- -- government how consumer government responded to criticisms like this. Well it's interesting -- as -- political party the ANC is actually responded they put out a release really trying to just remove themselves from this whole controversy. -- they admit yes they have used this interpreter in the past but they say they've had no complaints. And they also point out that the political party had nothing to do with planning this service they're putting it all. On the government and so we'll just have to wait. See what this government investigation reveals all right thank you so much ABC's -- Gonzales joining us. With the latest on the issue of the interpreter who -- sign language at Nelson -- memorial service in South Africa this has been an ABC news digital special report anti Hernandez and you --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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