Kathy Kmonicek, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2010 file photo, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, left, club president Saul Katz and Mets owner Fred Wilpon, right, listen to Sandy Alderson answer questions from the media after being introduced as the Mets' new general manager during a news conference in New York. With spring training just weeks away, nobodyÍs working harder to prepare for the MetsÍ future than their lawyers. A March 2012 trial may decide how much the teamÍs ownersÍ investment in imprisoned financier Bernard MadoffÍs disastrous fraudulent business will cost the club.

NEW YORK — Lawyers for the owners of the New York Mets face a March trial to decide how much the team could owe other investors caught on the losing end of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff's massive fraud.

Federal Judge Jed Rakoff (RAY'-koff) has made two rulings in the owners' favor. That increases the odds they won't be forced to sell the team.

In September, the judge capped their potential losses at $386 million and said they could not be made to pay more than $83.3 million unless they were "willfully blind" to the fraud. On Tuesday, Rakoff blocked a trustee who's trying to recover money for thousands of investors from appealing his September ruling until after the trial.

The trustee seeks $1 billion. The trial is set for March 19.