NEW YORK (Reuters) - Owners of the New York Mets baseball team asked a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss the $1 billion lawsuit against them by the trustee seeking money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and other principals at Sterling Equities said the trustee Irving Picard cannot show they knew they were enabling Madoff to commit fraud at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, where they were customers.
The Sterling defendants "were betrayed by a friend and realized an aggregate loss of over half a billion dollars" on December 11, 2008, the day Madoff's fraud became known, a filing in Manhattan federal court shows. "There were no warnings."
Picard has accused the Mets owners of seeking to enrich themselves by investing with Madoff despite a slew of red flags about his possible crimes, going so far as to ask whether they needed a "one of a kind" insurance policy for themselves.
The case is among the most contentious of Picard's roughly 1,050 lawsuits, which seek more than $103 billion.
Madoff, 73, is serving a 150-year prison term.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Matthew Lewis)