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NY trial of Bernard Madoff's secretary, other associates could take at least 5 months

The New York trial later this year of five former associates of disgraced Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff (MAY'-dawf) could last five months or more.

The government has accused Madoff's ex-secretary and four others of being in on a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that burned thousands of investors, with Madoff paying off longtime investors with money from newer investors.

Prosecutors told a Manhattan judge at a pretrial hearing Monday their case will last four months. Defense attorneys say they'll need a month.

Madoff and seven other people have pleaded guilty since the epic fraud was uncovered in 2008. Among them is Madoff's chief financial officer, who's expected to testify at the trial beginning Oct. 7.

Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term in Butner, N.C.

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