Mets Owners Will Have Burden Of Proof In Madoff Trial

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Owners of the New York Mets lost a key ruling ahead of a federal trial over whether they should return millions of dollars they received from jailed financier Bernard Madoff.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said co-owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have the burden of showing they acted in good faith in receiving money from Madoff’s firm in the two years leading up to its December 2008 bankruptcy.

Lawyers for Irving Picard, a trustee recovering money for investors said the Mets’ owners, knew or should have known that Madoff was acting illegally.

“The burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendants received the aforementioned transfers in good faith (i.e. in the absence of willful blindness) rests on the defendants,” Judge Jed Rakoff wrote in a brief order issued on Wednesday.

A jury trial over the remainder of the case is scheduled to begin on March 19.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • LongTimeFan

    I hope the Wilpons and Katz sue Picard for defamation of character when this is over. Picard never had a case from day one and has even gone as far as asking the judge to ban the Wilpons’Katz defense from presenting SEC evidence.

    As for the burden of proof on Wilpon/Katz, it sounds harder on the face of it, but maybe not. Maybe not at all. Not when there was so much to lose personally, business-wise, friend-wise, charity-wise, reputation-wise, employee-wise, family-fortune-wise, criminal-prosecution-wise, had they done this knowing this was Ponzi-scheme. It may not be hard at all. The Wilpons have extensive reputation of good will, caring about people. It defies common sense that they would knowingly do something that could destroy the lives of so many, including their own, let alone risk going to jail for the rest of their lives.

  • MG

    Since when is the burden of proof placed on the defendent?

  • walter stibble

    This judge is a moron and I am guessing a Yankees fan. If the gov’t regulators, the SEC and every other governing body all signed off and approved of Madoff and his firm, why in the world should Wilpon and Katz have known any better or have had any reason to distrust Madoff or his firm??

    • Steve Chong

      Apparently Rakoff IS a Yankees fan. But Rakoff also said two weeks ago he remains skeptical the Trustee can rebut defendants’ showing of good faith. Perhaps today’s ruling shouldn’t be a surpreise.

    • pal88

      I disagree…maybe he is a Met fan trying together theWilpons out…!

    • LongTimeFan

      I’ve read a few years ago that the judge has a very cozy relationship with Picard. Is that true, I don’t know, but Rakoff has been very charitable to Picard who I think is a major abuser of power, and so does some members of congress on both sides of the aisle who’ve publicly stated so.

    • Jon

      So Rakoff is out to destroy the Mets because he may be a Yankees fan. First of all, no one cares about the Mets. The Mets do not matter in this town, never have.

      Second moron, it was Fred Wilpon who was involved with Madoff. What does Rakoff gain by ruling against the Wilpons?

      Third, why do idiot Mets fans always have to bring up the Yankees when the s**t has nothing to do with the Yankees. It’s not a Yankees problem.

      Bringing up the Yankees does not change or help the fact the Mets are in deep S**T. You’re not too bright are you.

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