Eli Manning Memorabilia Fraud Case Going to Trial, Judge Rules

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 31:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)   Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in action against the Washington Redskins on December 31, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 18-10.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

A lawsuit regarding allegedly fraudulent sports memorabilia involving New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will go to trial, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported Thursday. 

The suit dates back to 2014, when plaintiffs claimed both Manning and the Giants attempted to pass off unused equipment items as "game-used" memorabilia.

According to the New York Post's Kaja Whitehouse, a dry cleaner contracted by the Giants allegedly would use his facilities and attempt to simulate wear and tear on Giants jerseys and other apparel. In one reported instance in 2001, the dry cleaner said Giants' locker room manager, Ed Wagner Jr., instructed him to "intentionally damage multiple jerseys to make them appear to have been game-worn when they had not been."

Whitehouse reported Manning was among many Giants players involved in the alleged scheme because he wanted to keep certain items that would've been sold or auctioned off.

The Washington Post's Will Hobson reported in June 2017 that United States attorneys indicted memorabilia dealer Eric Inselberg on charges he was selling fake game-worn jerseys. After prosecutors dropped charges, Inselberg filed a lawsuit against the Giants, alleging the fake memorabilia originated from employees of the team.

Not only does Inselberg allege Giants team employees attempted to fabricate game-worn apparel but also that they misled the Pro Football Hall of Fame regarding a piece of NFL history.

Inselberg said he bought the helmet Eli Manning wore during the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots from two Giants equipment staffers.

However, the Giants sent what they claimed to be Manning's Super Bowl XLII helmet to the Hall of Fame for display, which happened following Inselberg's purchase of the original one. Hobson noted after Inselberg filed his lawsuit the Hall of Fame changed the description of the helmet on display to say it had simply been worn by Manning rather than specifying it was from the Super Bowl.

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