Eli Manning is taking a big hit following the release of an email that the New York Giants quarterback allegedly was involved in a fake sports memorabilia scheme.
The email was included in a court filing in Bergen County (N.J.) Superior Court by the plaintiffs -- collectors Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown -- who first filed a lawsuit three years ago. The trial has been scheduled for Sept. 25.
The email, obtained this week by the New York Post, shows an April 27, 2010, exchange between Manning and Giants head equipment manager Joe Skiba. Manning has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports and his marketing agent had requested two game-used helmets as part of the agreement.
"2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli," Manning wrote to Skiba, according to the documents.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unloaded on Manning and the Giants, calling the two-time Super Bowl MVP "the liar Eli Manning."
"He got caught," Christie said Friday morning while co-hosting the "Boomer and Carton" show on WFAN 660-AM, according to NorthJersey.com.
"The Giants participated in this as well, so (owner) John Mara's going to have to open the checkbook. Now there's all kinds of ramifications for the Giants as a brand. Are they a lying cheating franchise? I think it's an open question. I'm not saying that John Mara knew."
The lawsuit suit alleges an elaborate scheme to produce, pass off and sell memorabilia as game-used that was not. The suit also alleges that the Giants were complicit by deleting the email from their accounts.
"The email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday," McCarter & English, the law firm representing the Giants in the case, said in a statement Thursday. "The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server. Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character."
The Giants conducted an internal investigation in 2011 into their selling and producing of game-used memorabilia.
The plaintiffs' lawyer, Brian Brook of Clinton, Brook & Peed, told ESPN that the email, included among roughly 200 pages of documents Manning produced as part of legal discovery, was key to specifically linking the quarterback to the lawsuit.