Former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning will head to trial this week to defend himself against allegations that he sold fake memorabilia to collectors over several years.
The accusations have been brought about by Eric Inselberg, who claims Manning conspired with New York Giants team equipment staff to sell bogus “game-used” helmets to collectors, per The Associated Press’ David Porter.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2014, but things changed significantly in 2017 when Inselberg acquired emails between Manning and Giants equipment manager Joseph Skiba. According to the report, the email shows Manning asking Skiba to get “2 helmets that can pass as game used.”
“Manning never instructed Joe Skiba to create any fraudulent memorabilia,” attorney Robert Lawrence wrote in a court filing, per the report. “Rather, Manning believed that if he asked Joe Skiba for his helmets, he received his game-used helmets and that the helmets he received from Skiba were his game-used helmets.”
It’s very surprising that Manning and his team have allowed this case to get to trial without reaching a settlement, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell said via Twitter.
Eli Manning memorabilia case heads to trial this morning. Absolutely shocked there was no settlement given that Eli’s reputation hinges on this & there’s enough ambiguity in case to ruin his name forever.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 14, 2018
Manning’s two Super Bowls likely will outweigh the damage that would come from a loss in this case, but it’s still a potential bad look for the former Rebels standout.
This is a civil suit, so Manning will not face criminal charges in this case. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday morning.