Nine jurors will decide whether the New York Mets owners have to pay $303 million to the trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff’s former firm in a trial to begin March 19 in Manhattan.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff set the number of jurors and other ground rules for the trial of trustee Irving Picard’s claims against Mets owners Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and a group of related defendants.
Rakoff ruled this week that the Mets defendants must give up as much as $83 million in fictitious profits from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and face a trial over whether they acted in bad faith, a decision that could cost them $303 million more, he said.
The parties said they expect the trial to take 10 days, which may result in a verdict before the team opens the season against the Atlanta Braves on April 5.
Rakoff, saying it’s difficult for jurors to absorb too many facts at the start of a trial, said he will limit opening statements by each side to 45 minutes. Rakoff said he’s reluctant to ask jurors to decide too many individual questions in their verdict, saying they tend to take “holistic views of cases.”