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.

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