The Giants consistently have said that the supposed smoking-gun email implicating quarterback Eli Manning in memorabilia fraud was taken out of context and does not show that he actually wanted to dupe purchasers of game-used helmets with helmets not actually used in a game. More than a week later, however, details remain scant.
According to ESPN.com, lawyers representing the Giants and Manning have claimed in a court filing that the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in that case deliberately omitted “relevant evidence” to create the impression that Manning was complicit in a scheme to defraud. Per the report, the legal brief filed Wednesday claims Eli’s emails were mischaracterized, and that (per the report) “hundreds of documents exonerate Manning.”
The claims were made in a formal request to ask the presiding judge to uphold an agreement that information regarded as confidential would not be disclosed publicly. The Giants’ lawyers also contend that the plaintiffs “cherry-picked” the email that seems to show Eli’s involvement, in order to make him look bad publicly.
Missing through any of this is an effort to show why the supposed smoking-gun email isn’t. Nine days after it surfaced, those inclined to assume the worst about the email have seen nothing to dissuade them from doing so. At some point, the false (if it is) impression takes root, making it virtually impossible in this red state/blue state I’m-right-and-your-a-idiot #fakenews society to get those people to change their minds.
The sooner the lawyers representing the Giants and Eli Manning tell the whole story about why the email in which Eli requests two helmets that “can pass as game used” doesn’t mean what it seems to mean on its face, the better the chance that they’ll get people to reach a conclusion other than the one the governor of the state in which the Giants plays its home games immediately embraced.
As mentioned on Friday’s PFT Live, someone needs to tell the lawyers that, at this point, what happens in the court of public opinion is as important as (and maybe more important than) what happens in the court where the fraud case is pending. People who have seen the inflammatory email need to know exactly how and why it was taken out of context, even if that means prematurely playing a hand that would otherwise be played before a judge and a jury.
In the court of public opinion, everyone is on the jury, and plenty made up their minds when they saw the email. Claiming that it was taken out of context isn’t enough to get them to see if differently. If those claiming that the Giants were committing memorabilia fraud are indeed committing fraud on the public, that needs to be proven and not simply alleged.