The legal battle over a failed money market fund for community banks is escalating, with investors asking a federal judge to bar the fund's manager from using what's left of their money to pay legal bills.

The plaintiffs -- about 32 community banks from across the country -- accuse the fund's managers, called Community Assets Management Inc., of inappropriately using the remaining $1.4 million in the fund to defend the firm against lawsuits by its former investors.

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