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Trial schedule set in $386M suit

In a Friday afternoon hearing in lower Manhattan, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff told the parties in the $386 million lawsuit against Mets owners that he will begin seating a nine-person jury on March 19.

After jury selection, there will be a 10-day trial. Court will be in session Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The judge also informed the parties of other deadlines -- Monday to submit past cases the sides would like the judge to review as well as witness lists, and next Friday for any transcripts to be submitted.

As with any federal case, a jury verdict must be unanimous.

Each side will have the ability to strike three prospective jurors, with the judge doing the early questioning of the citizens.

The judge also is paving the way for reporters to be able to have technology (computers for tweeting, etc.) in the courtroom. The primary exception is a ban on recording devices.

Rakoff already has ruled Fred Wilpon and family must repay their Ponzi scheme profit from the immediate two years before Bernard Madoff's arrest -- as much as $83 million. An additional $303 million will be at stake at trial, with trustee Irving Picard needing to prove the Wilpons were "willfully blind" to the scam in order to collect.