Prosecutors oppose paying Clemens mistrial fees

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors Tuesday urged a judge to reject retired baseball star Roger Clemens' request that the government pay some of his legal fees and costs due to the prosecution mistake that caused a mistrial in his steroids case.

In July, the judge declared a mistrial in the opening days of the trial because prosecutors by mistake played a video clip that included inadmissible evidence.

Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history in a career that ran from 1984 to 2007, had been charged with perjury, making false statements and obstruction over testimony to Congress in 2008 when he denied ever taking steroids and human growth hormones. He has pleaded not guilty and faces a new trial in April.

Attorneys for Clemens argued he should be awarded fees and costs as a sanction for the misconduct by prosecutors that led to the mistrial.

Prosecutors disagreed and said there was no basis under the law for the request.

They said legal fees may be awarded if there had been a finding of "sanctionable misconduct that is tantamount to bad faith." In the Clemens case, the judge only found a mistake by prosecutors, they said.

It will be up to the judge to rule on the request.

Attorneys for Clemens had previously argued the mistrial should result in the dismissal of all charges against Clemens. The judge in September rejected that request.

(Reporting by James Vicini; Editing by Bill Trott)