Source: Settlement reached in Eli Manning memorabilia fraud lawsuit

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has settled a lawsuit that accused him of selling bogus "game-worn'' equipment to unsuspecting collectors as part of a long-running scam, a source confirmed to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

The settlement was first reported by profootballtalk.com.

Jury selection was to have begun this week, but a death in the family of one of the attorneys had pushed that back to next Monday.

Eric Inselberg filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying two helmets purchased by Inselberg and two other plaintiffs -- including one purportedly used by Manning during the Giants' 2007-2008 Super Bowl season -- were bogus. Inselberg said photographic experts using a technique called "photomatching'' could not find evidence that the helmets were ever used in games.

The Giants and Manning had contended photomatching is unreliable because it does not take into account that helmets are routinely reconditioned during or after a season, the evidence of which might be found on the inside of the helmet and not the outside.

The stakes were raised in the lawsuit in April 2017 when Inselberg's attorneys filed court documents that contained emails between Manning and equipment manager Joseph Skiba, who was also a defendant in the lawsuit. In one email, Manning asks Skiba to get "2 helmets that can pass as game used.''

The email does not refer to the two helmets at issue in the lawsuit, but Inselberg alleged it indicated a pattern of fraud. In a court filing last week, Inselberg's attorneys wrote they would introduce evidence during the trial that would ``show that Manning engaged in a pattern of knowingly providing items to Steiner Sports that he misrepresented as having been game-used when he knew they were not.''

When the emails went public last year, Manning angrily denied any wrongdoing. In a court filing this month, Manning's attorney wrote that the email was intended to ask Skiba for two game-used helmets that would "satisfy the requirement of being game-used.''

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