The New Jersey judge who is a longtime Giants fan will not preside over the trial in which Eli Manning faces civil memorabilia fraud charges because the judge is moving to a new court division, a court spokesperson told Newsday on Monday.
The civil trial is scheduled to begin next week.
Superior Court judge Charles Powers will take over for judge James DeLuca, whose ownership of two Giants personal seat licenses at MetLife Stadium caused the memorabilia collectors to formally ask him to step down from the case twice in recent years.
DeLuca declined their requests both times.
The court spokesperson said the decision to transfer the case to another judge in advance of the trial had “nothing to do with the case.” Instead, DeLuca himself is in the process of moving out of the court’s civil division and into one of its three other divisions.
The lawsuit accusing the Giants and Manning of memorabilia fraud was filed in January 2014 by sports memorabilia entrepreneur Eric Inselberg and has since been amended to include collectors Michael Jakab and Sean Godown.
The suit alleges that Manning was part of a scheme to pass off non-game-used helmets and jerseys to be marketed and sold as game-worn merchandise by sports memorabilia company Steiner Sports, also listed as a defendant in the case.
DeLuca took over the case in May 2015 and issued orders as recently as last week. Powers will take over when the trial begins next week.