By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc urged a U.S. appeals court to throw out a judges radical finding that it violated antitrust law by manipulating electronic book prices, and blamed publishers for running a conspiracy it claimed to know nothing about. The request on Tuesday night came after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York concluded last July after a nonjury trial that Apple had played a central role in illegally scheming as early as December 2009 with five publishers to raise e-book prices and impede competitors such as Amazon.com Inc. The publishers previously agreed to pay more than $166 million to settle related antitrust charges. In a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, Apple said it had no knowledge that the publishers were engaged in a conspiracy at any time. It said it lawfully took advantage of market discord and the publishers own frustrations with Amazon, and kick-started competition in a highly concentrated market, delivering higher output, lower price levels, and accelerated innovation. Cotes decision is a radical departure from modern antitrust law, Apple said.