WASHINGTON – After saying there was no evidence the two had ever met, the White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama once lived for a few weeks with his uncle, Onyango Obama, a Kenyan who was in the United States illegally and faced possible deportation.

The president met his father’s half-brother when he moved to the Boston area to attend Harvard Law School and stayed with him until his apartment was ready, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. After moving out, Obama saw his uncle, known as Omar, once every few months until he graduated.

“The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in a decade,” Carney said.

The update follows Onyango Obama’s statement in court this week that the president had lived with him. The elder Obama was in court for a deportation hearing following a drunken driving arrest. He won status as a legal permanent resident. He came to the United States in 1963 on a student visa that expired in 1970, and he has lived in the country illegally ever since.

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The Boston Globe reported last year that the White House said the president had never met his uncle. White House aides say they actually told the Globe that there was no record of the two having met.

On Thursday, Carney said no one at the White House had actually asked the president if he’d come face to face with his uncle before making that statement to the press.

“Back when this arose, folks looked at the record, including the president’s book, and there was no evidence that they had met,” Carney said. “Nobody spoke to the president.”

When the issue came up again this week, Carney said, he personally took the question to the president.

“The president said that he, in fact, had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school, and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready,” Carney said.

After that, aides say, uncle and nephew saw each other once every few months while the president was in Cambridge, and then gradually fell out of touch after the president graduated from law school.

Carney said there was “absolutely zero interference” by the White House in Obama’s legal case.

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christi.parsons@latimes.com

Twitter: @cparsons