Eli Manning memorabilia fraud case heading to trial, judge rules

Eli Manning has taken his first sack of 2018.

A New Jersey court judge ruled on Thursday that memorabilia fraud claims against the Giants quarterback will go to trial after Manning's legal team attempted to have the claims dismissed, according to ESPN.

Memorabilia collectors filed the lawsuit in 2014 and claimed that they were given bogus game-used helmets among dozens of fake items created and sold to them by team employees.

Manning was implicated a year ago when a legal filing in Bergen County Superior Court revealed new evidence which included an email from Manning to the team's equipment manager in 2010, Joe Skiba, which read, "2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli," suggesting he knew he was providing unauthentic memorabilia.

See Manning through his career:

Manning and the Giants attorneys have argued that the plaintiffs are just trying to score cash while the Giants quarterback himself denied any wrongdoing in an emotional statement last April.

Court filings from February included expert witness testimony from the plaintiff's defense team to prove the helmets were not game-used along with a deposition from Giants co-owner John Mara, who stated he was unaware of any memorabilia controversy although his in-house attorney, Bill Heller, received a letter on the subject in 2011.

The Giants' and Manning's legal teams continued to argue that there was no evidence to prove any fraud but apparently to no avail.

The trial date is unknown but it could potentially interrupt the Giants' 2018 season, one that will also have Manning under a close microscope on the field as the 37-year-old enters his 15th season in the NFL following an embarrassing 3-13 season.

The announcement that the case against Manning will go to trial also comes one week before the NFL Draft, in which the Giants are contemplating possibly selecting his eventual successor.