NY judge to decide on Mets-Madoff trial by March 5

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A judge says he'll decide by March 5 if a trial is necessary to decide if the owners of the New York Mets were willfully blind to the multibillion-dollar fraud by financer Bernard Madoff.

Federal Judge Jed Rakoff heard arguments from lawyers for more than two hours Thursday.

Then he announced he'll decide whether a March 19 trial is necessary to decide the validity of claims by a trustee recovering money for cheated investors.

The court-appointed trustee sued the Mets owners, saying they had to know Madoff was acting illegally. Lawyers for the owners say it's not true. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.

Rakoff has already limited what the team's owners might have to pay to other Madoff investors to $386 million. The trustee had sought $1 billion.